“Take thy plastic spade,
It is thy pencil;
Take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are thy colors.”
~William Mason, The English Garden
Spring is here and where I live, that means time spent in the garden. My family lives as eco-friendly as possible and are striving for self-sustainability – a lot of hard work in all areas, as you can imagine. This includes raising our own food: tilling, planting, weeding, tilling some more, and carrying countless buckets of water from the Amish-built windmill.
What does this have to do with writing? Everything, in my opinion.
Yesterday evening, as I got cozy on the weathered bench that’s nestled snuggly in the corner of our 100 x 100 garden area, I began to visualize zucchini, strawberries, watermelon, snap peas, peppers, onions, and all the other delicious sustenance the rich soil will produce.
As I daydreamed about smoothie and juice concoctions, salads and raw pasta, it came to me – gardening is very similar to writing!
The inspiration is clear:
Seeds = Words
Each word we put on paper is like a seed sewn in our garden – our writer’s garden. Much like planting seeds in a vegetable or flower garden, our words grow, change, and become a part of something far bigger than our original thought.
Seeds (like words!) may never grow; they might be bad seeds. In that case, we simply start fresh!
Tending Our Garden
As the words are planted, they come together one-by-one, row after row. It takes time to get the plants just so-so. If you’re a perfectionist, you may even put a stake at each end and run string to guarantee a straight shot all the way.
A gardener nurtures their plants, waters them, even fertilizes and makes special bug-repelling tonics and potions to ensure they’re healthy and thrive.
As writers we do the same, making sure sentences aren’t too long, words are spelled correctly, and our grammar is top-notch.
Editing = Weeding
Sometimes there are too many words – or not enough. And much like we may dig up a plant that’s too close to another and replant it elsewhere – or fill in a scant area – we copy, cut and paste our words, sentences, or paragraphs to make our work flow better.
And then we proofread, weeding our writer’s garden, plucking away each word that doesn’t belong.
Sun + Rain = Polished Perfection
Those last few, special touches we put on our article, story, or book, is like a garden being kissed by the sun or rain – they make all our efforts flourish and shine, blossom and burst forth breathtaking beauty. Once withering plants who have cried out for vitamins and nutrients absorb sunshine and rain, they take on a whole new look. They shoot up and out, running wild and free – as they should.
It’s the last moment tidbits of inspiration our muse whispers ever so softly and sprinkles into our thoughts, that finishes everything beautifully and makes it truly flourish.
Harvesting = Plentiful Rewards
There’s no greater joy than taking a step back and smiling when all the time, effort, and labor – plus sweat, tears, and frustrating moments -pay off in the end.
Whether it’s your writing or a produce- or flower-filled garden, when your harvest is ready; it’s a great feeling, a learning experience you can cherish always.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses – you may even want to plant your own!
What is your Writer’s garden filled with? Does it need weeding? Have you planted enough seeds? Do you tend your garden lovingly – or has it withered from lack of attention? What does your harvest look like? Do tell!
Photo Credit: Simon Howden