Gardening and writing

Garden

I had a friend around today to help me and my husband with gardening. Why did you need help? I hear you ask. Well me and my husband aren’t exactly keen gardeners. We need a bit of incentive and my friend, who by contrast is a keen gardener, really motivates us.

So the three of us, with the dog looking on trying to get free from his restraint, worked for a few hours on the gardens front and back. Technically the garden at the back is more like a yard as although it has flower beds, it has no grass. This suits me as it makes it easier to maintain. To the side and front of the house there’s grass and shrubs and between the grass and the road are some large bushes and trees.

Anyway it all needed to be cut back. Whilst my husband pruned and chopped away at the front of our property, my friend and I hacked away (or at least she hacked, I chopped large branches she gave me into smaller bits to fit in the bin) at some trees which had seeded themselves ages ago at the back. We chatted away whilst we worked which was lovely. It was busy work and a bit tiring, but once we’d done all we could manage it did look a whole lot better.

Gone was the overgrown, straggly, unwanted vegetation. In its place there was light and a bit more space. Now I should be able to see my husband coming home from work on his bike as I look through the enlarged gap in the shrubbery in front of our house. Now our dog should have more scope for nosing around the back yard. And now much of the ivy is gone, there should be more chance for nicer plants to grow.

And I do think you can compare gardening to writing. Because just as in gardening you need to prune and chop plants down, our WIPs often require some pruning and chopping as well. As writers it’s essential that we get our stories right, in order to make them appealing and interesting enough to attract readers. So this can mean some drastic changes. We might have to chop whole scenes out of what we have written because they do not adhere to the general plot of our story. Or we may need prune certain characters because they as they are they’re just not quite believable enough.

So when you’re next out in the garden hacking back at some obstinate bushes or weeding a flower bed, just remember that it’s important to do the same sometimes in your writing too. We may not like the idea of getting rid of certain chapters or storylines, but it can often mean the difference between having a story that doesn’t read very well and is rather disappointing and having one that does read well and is exciting.

* I wish I could say that this is a photo of our garden but unfortunately it’s not!

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