Above: My flowerbed fantasy – Botanical Gardens, Nantes
This is a post I’m writing for myself, but you’re welcome to read it. It’s possibly about gardening – which I’m not great at – but it could equally be about a book.
All I had was a germ of an idea. I didn’t have a ‘story to tell’ that they say is inside everybody, but rather just a notion. I took my little germ and planted it in the soil of some whimsical ambition and it has taken root. It appears to me that the shoots that are starting to come up have this way of growing all by themselves as I try and trim or feed the story with a combo of feel-good sunshine, watery tears of frustration and manure (detritus). It’s exciting how that happens, how you are surprised by the very words that come from your own fingers because they are unexpected and better than you imagined!
In that way it’s exactly like painting. I could grab my brushes, paints and canvas and mix colours according to my sense of what feels right. I may have a vague notion in my head of what I’d like to achieve, or I may even have a well thought-out plan complete with rough sketches and preliminary mock-ups. But the final results always take me by surprise, they are not what I saw in my mind’s eye before I began.
I wonder how that happens? There are thoughts and ideas in our own minds that we are not even aware of, even though we live with them all the time. All it takes for them to be revealed is to take those first tentative steps, to plant that seed and then to keep nurturing it with the food it needs to grow.
I have been slowly working on my novel when I can or when I am motivated enough to keep going, and little by little, as others have come and given my little story some love, it has been creeping up a wall until today when it burst out with a flower – the number one spot on the top 20 books on ChapterBuzz!
I am amazed and humbled. My semi-written story has got to that point through people reading it and liking it. I know I have not written the best piece of writing – this is merely the first draft, and also the book is not even finished. But I do know that it won’t get any better if it just sits like that and I never do any more. The only way to improve in my writing ability is to just keep on writing.
However, I am a terrible gardener and this is where my metaphor worries me a little. As the concerns of life take over, my flowerbeds are left to fend for themselves. The results wouldn’t be Pinterest worthy. Weeding has never been a joy to me and here is where I think my book may wither.
I am writing this though just to tell myself that because I have got this far, I can keep going until it is finished. All it takes is to just keep writing. No one else is going to do this for me. I’m not doing this for anybody else but me, in that the act of writing will only bring me enjoyment. Actually, being a mother of four and a wife, I’ve realised there are very few things I do for nobody else but me. (Keeping myself clean and I feeding myself are two of the things I can think off the top of my head that I do exclusively for my own benefit, I’m sure there must be other things too – just, my brain is not quite altogether). However, the produce of writing will most likely only bring others enjoyment because by the time it’s done I’m bound to be stuffed full of it!
So this flower today in that sunny spot on the wall is lovely – it has bloomed to encourage me. Hopefully, as more and more motivational flowers pop out to cheer me along one day, my little plant may finally bear a full and satisfying fruit. Which I hope then that you will then enjoy the eating of. xx