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Similarities of writing and gardening

Having spent years both gardening and writing, I wonder why it never dawned on me the similarities between the two. Earlier today I took a break from editing to pop into the garden for a few hours. There is always something to do and given that my garden feeds us well, it deserves care and attention. Be it weeding, watering, cutting back, picking produce, reinforcing the heavily laden branches that cannot bear their own weight under the heavy summer crops, every moment in the garden is a moment well spent. I move without thinking between brassicas, nightshades, fruits, squashes and fabaceae, all the while going over in my mind how to prune a difficult chapter in my latest book.

There is no instant gardening, just as there is no short cut to writing a book. The seeds are sown early, and then nurtured into life during each stage of development. Both activities require patience, time, enthusiasm and commitment. Writing develops and flourishes with the story threads we add, the more descriptions we use, intertwining characters, timelines, emotions and plots. Late in the season, as deadlines loom, I find I adopt the same brutal approach when editing my work, as I do to the garden. If something is not needed or does not benefit the entire chapter by being there, I remove it.

This year I grew physalis plants for the first time, despite not particularly liking them. Why did I grow them? To test myself and satisfy my curiosity. Just because we aren't fond of something, it doesn't mean we can't appreciate it and acknowledge the time, care and effort that has gone into creating it. Any writer hopes their work is enjoyed, or at the very least appreciated and respected for their achievement. The more I compare the two great passions in my life, the more I wonder are they one and the same?


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