I have thoroughly enjoyed my patio garden this summer. It is much bigger than the garden I tried last year and I have loved every aspect of it. The actual planting was magical. I had dirt under my nails for days, but being in the dirt felt so grounding. I loved shaking the plant free of it small pot and securing it with new soil, hoping that it would thrive in its new home.
I cherished watching the small plants grow and flower. Carrot tops shooting out of the soil. Lettuce leaves and basil. Delicate yellow flowers that would soon be green tomatoes. Crisp bell peppers and sherbet colored zucchini blossoms. Every day, I enjoy sitting on the patio, drinking coffee or tea, taking in the beauty of growing, living things.
A garden, no matter how big or small takes daily maintenance and thought. I have to adjust my watering based on how much rain we got the day before. I pull off dead bits and leaves, making room for new blossoms and growth. I also discovered recently that one of my tomato plants is lacking calcium so it has blossom end rot. I had to research emergency fixes and try to remedy the problem. There is work to be done everyday, but the work also leaves me grounded and in awe of the creative process at work in front of me, in these pots.
It occurs to me that writing is like gardening. Writing daily is a grounding creative practice. Once in the habit of tending a writing practice on a daily basis, you can weed out the dead bits and things that are starting to rot. You can research new methods to try or use a new point of view to bring new life to something. A daily writing practice has been difficult for me to maintain the last couple of years. I finished a novel I’d been working on for almost ten years and got it out into the world. I was excited to start new projects, but I missed the familiarity of my last piece and the world I knew how to tend. New life felt untrustworthy, but I never gave it a shot and my daily practice withered and died.
Because I tend to the garden a little bit everyday, it is flourishing. There is definitely difference in opinion about what a daily writing practice should entail. I’ve learned that setting up lots of rules and routines boxes me in and I rebel by not working at all. I do better with loose rules and it might change per work in progress or change every couple of days. That said, even five minutes of writing a day – blogging, journaling or fiction writing helps me to be more grounded and flourish.
I sometimes want my daily practice to be more. I’ve tried NANOWRIMO multiple times, but inevitably the large daily word count gets the best of me and I can’t keep up. In reality, a smaller dose is easier for me to handle and as I am learning with my garden, still produces great results. I might have to wait longer for my wip’s to mature and produce, but the harvest will be potent and memorable just like my basil.