Patient Attention

It’s going to reach 60 degrees here in Detroit today, so of course my mind is turning to gardens, if only the metaphorical kind.

Yesterday I finally started writing the section of my WIP that I have been anticipating for months. Wasn’t sure why it took so long to get onto the page. Chronologically, it needed to come much sooner than yesterday. Which is fine, I can insert it wherever. But I remembered being puzzled at the time. I knew what I wanted to write. I knew what needed to happen. Why wasn’t I just writing already?

Turns out the soil needed tilling for the flowers to grow.

Some of the things I did included going through three months worth of magazines, catalogs, and old circus photographs to find images of my characters and their spaces. After ripping out many pages over several days, I assembled them, with embellishments, into an easily accessed notebook. Choosing just the right images from the mountain, and then backing each with pretty paper, helped me really focus on the visuals of the story.

Into another notebook went some research from a book I’d read. On a trip last month to a site I’m using in the book, I took some notes. Those too were incorporated into the story yesterday.

I get a little cranky with myself when I can’t always come up with writing from nothing, when I have to do a lot of prep work to get the words to come out right. Then I remind myself that stories, like gardens, require patient attention to bloom.


  1. I used to think that writing was a gift, either I had it or I did not. When ever I sat down to write and nothing came up, I thought I’m not cut out to be a writer. It’s true to some extent that one has to have a gift to write, but I just recently (within the last year or so) learned “that stories, like gardens, require patient attention to bloom.” Keyword here is “patient.”

    Now if I may share this link…

    Timothy Hallinan


  2. Great link…about the gift to write, part of that gift is just having the desire to write. If the desire is not strong enough, if the gift relies always on inspiration, then the gift will disappoint.


  3. Mmm! That’s a good analogy. I love writing, and I also like gardening. Sometimes we have to do what we can, including the prep work that we may not always feel excited about, then be patient while the story germinates and grows.


  4. Gardening is a contemplative act and a way to connect with the earth. So close to being a meditation. Gardens are the muse of writers! ๐Ÿ™‚


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