As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Point of View: Gardening is Writing II

Scott Garden

Back in the before world, in 2019, I wrote a column for this space called “Gardening is Writing.” My premise was simple. Many of the same skills to grow a successful vegetable garden could be applied to writing as well.

Then yesterday, I ran across a framed image at a Starbucks, of all places, that reminded me of the art I used to draw when I was in high school. I sent it to one of my high school art teachers, Laura Brouse (check out her current art – it’s amazing), who still has a bit of my art after all these years.

She acknowledged how similar it was, and then mentioned how focused I would get when I was creating art – that I would just block out all the raucous noise around me and become invested in the work. She also suggested that I should start to draw and paint again.

I’ve been thinking about that all this morning. Then it hit me this that I do much the same when I go out into the garden each day to water the plants.

It’s a sanctuary for me, a place to feel the sun on my face, the breeze on my arms. Where I care for the plants in their neat little pots and see how all the little steps I took over the last five months helped create such a beautiful, serene place (see the photos – when I first planted it, and today). That’s also how I feel when I get deep down into the roots of writing.

But the parallels between the two run far deeper.

As writers and gardeners, we carefully select the seeds or young shoots from which to grow our garden. We nurture them, taking care to pay attention to each separate plant, just as in writing we manage our individual plot and character arcs. We prune them back where needed, stripping out the extra growth that weakens the whole.

Sometimes we run into danger – like the spider mites that have decimated my tomato crop year after year. We reach out to others with gardens of their own to learn how to overcome these challenges, like spraying on a bit of organic neem seed oil to keep the mites at bay. Or when we write, trimming out the part that never fit quite right.

Sometimes our work is exclusively for our own enjoyment, and sometimes there’s enough bounty to go around. And as the season draws to a close, so does our work, as we wind it down to its conclusion and ready ourselves for another round. Another garden. Another novel.

This year’s green novel is filled to overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, and basil that needs a good trim, lest it come to flower too soon. Still problematic are the zucchinis that die on the vine more often than they ripen to maturity, like plot ideas that never quite panned out.

Every year, every garden, every novel, you get a little better at this, learn a bit more, create a more beautiful thing.

And it’s in the fallow season, that dark wintertime when the plants are gone, the temperature drops, and the old vegetable flesh decomposes slowly into the soil, when our ideas for a new garden are born.

Then once again we sink our hands into the soil, enriched with the knowledge of seasons past, and coax from it the green shoots that will form a new masterpiece.

And every year, I get a little better at creating something wild and new.

To my writer friends, what hobby of yours is most like writing, and why?

Join My Newsletter List, Get a Free Book!

Privacy *
Newsletter Consent *