Sunday, July 15, 2007

How writing is like gardening part 2

Last week, I weeded and mulched the side of our yard near our neighbor’s lot. It’s become, shall we say, problematic. I’m rarely on that side of the house, so it’s easy for me to ignore. When I go out to work, I tend to start with what I can see and get tired before I get to the parts I see less often. So this time I started on the bad side. My neighbor’s sprinkler waters a group of weeds that grow under a large pine tree (about the only things that will grow there). I pulled them all up and put newspaper and mulch down. Then, I weeded between what used to be neat rows of moonbeam coreopsis and blue flax, but had become wild fields of weeds and California poppies dotted with coreopsis and flax. The rows still aren’t as neat as they originally were, but they are better.

Writing is the opposite. With writing we start out messy and end up neat. I’m trying to remember that because I keep trying to write this book like it’s a final draft, but that’s impossible. It’s got to be messy now because there are too many questions I don’t yet have the answers to. So the pages are filled with notes to myself and questions and empty spaces where connecting scenes will go (maybe).

That’s one way writing and gardening are different. How are they alike? With both, it helps if you know what you should try to tame (weeds) and what you should let go (there's NO way to control California poppies!). Accepting chaos, finding beauty in the chaos, is part of the deal. Wearing pajamas and drinking cool (sugar-free) drinks help.

Go here for how writing is like gardening pt 1.

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