Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Work in Progress

When we bought our house a couple years ago we liked the house, but what really sold us on the deal was the HUGE garden area hidden behind a hedge in the back yard. My husband and I imagined what we could do with the space and we dreamed BIG. We'd transform the dirt patch into a garden worthy of the Martha Stewart catalogue-- raised beds, stone walkways filled in with Irish moss, mini fruit trees in giant pots, and a fountain to add ambiance. It was going to be awesome.

Two years later it is not awesome... yet. We've started the raised beds. My husband spent half the summer carting giant stones for the walkway and only finished about a third of it. The moss doesn't really like growing between the stones, but weeds LOVE it.

So now mostly we have a giant weed patch with some pretty rectangular structures filled with vegetables in the middle. I know it's a work in progress and it's better than what we started with, but most days all I can see are the weeds.

This is kind of how I feel about my manuscript right now. I haven't even finished the first draft yet, but all the imperfections are driving me crazy. I just have to remind myself that my last one felt like this too. Writing, like creating the perfect garden, just takes time. I need to finish it before I move on to massive revisions.

Maybe in a year I'll have another finished book AND a garden that would make Martha Stewart proud. Or maybe just another finished book.

Do the weeds slow down your writing process or are you able to forget about them until after the first draft is done?

26 comments:

Candyland said...

Ugh. Weeds always slow me down. I wish I could forget.

Jamie D. said...

Yep. I'm consciously trying to draft with more "weeding as I go", but they do tend to pop up quicker than I'd like. And they do slow down the process a bit, though I'm starting to hit my groove again.

My garden is a mess right now in the "not-quite-spring" doldrums...but it will be beautiful again soon, with patience. Same thing with my WIP - just needs more time and elbow grease. ;-)

Good luck with the weeds!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Weeds...weeds...weeds. By the time I finally get caught up with them, it's time to start over! I try to balance my outside time with my writing time. ;-)

Voidwalker said...

Yeah, I'm a big dreamer too, but sometimes my finished product just doesn't end up how I imagined. My books are no different. I have great ideas, then if I don't sit down and do it, they just fall to the wayside as nothing more than a cool synopsis.

Melissa said...

Oh, yes, the weeds are definitely a distraction. I'm forcing myself to ignore them for now, but it's not easy.

Empress Awesome said...

I'm slow or productive with or without weeds. Weeds don't affect the writing process at all, actually. All up to the muse.

Aubrie said...

That looks like a great start to a garden! Good luck with your WIP. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Sadly, weeds slow me down sometimes. I do the reminder thing too! LOL
I hope your garden turns into something gorgeous!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

The weeds, the rain, the hail, the deep-freeze that kills any progress I've made. Yup, I can completely relate.

On a happier note, I know your garden will end up beautiful, just like your writing. ;)

Heather Sunseri said...

Oh, they totally slowe me down. I'm finally working through most of them, though. The end product is worth it, as I'm sure you know already.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great garden - looks awesome. Enjoy :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Oh, I want your garden. That's a gorgeous garden.

I hear you. I've even heard good things about my work lately and I'm still only seeing the weeds. I think I might need to step away for a bit.

I hope you see (and recognize) your blooms soon, Natalie.

storyqueen said...

This is a good metaphor...sometimes stuff that looks little and sparse to begin with can grow and bloom into something really wonderful.

(What do you do if the WIP IS the weed?)

Shelley

Stephanie Thornton said...

Ohlala! That's going to be a great garden one day! Weeds are inevitable, but I try to enjoy weeding my garden. Same thing with my manuscripts. It's hard, but it makes me a better writer!

Good luck!

Sandy Shin said...

That's an excellent analogy, and I do let the weeds slow me down when it comes to writing the first draft. I'm learning to overlook them and shoulder on.

Good luck on both your garden and your writing!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Fabulous analogy =) Weeds in writing are the WORST!! But my solution? I get a composition book and write down ANY weeds that come to mind as the pop up so I know I won't forget them and it's easier just to keep writing.

Yaya' s Home said...

My good hubby-buddy is the gardener around here. He tried to point out a particular tree to me today, naming it, and he finally realized that, although I find them beautiful and useful, one tree looks like any other tree to me. I try to see the difference, but somehow that does not come through to me as clearly as it apparently does to other people.

~ Yaya
Yaya's Home

Jody Hedlund said...

You are incredible to tackle such a big project!! And I love the analogy to our writing. I wish there weren't so many weeds and rocks and messes! But that's part of the hard work of nuturing our books until they are thriving.

paulgreci said...

Great analogy, Natalie. Our garden is also raised beds. At least that keeps most of the weeds out of the garden proper.

Lots of weeds and rocks and moss to navigate in my writing. With the novels I've finished I was able to ignore the weeds and write the first drafts. I've got a couple projects started now but I'm not sure if they will turn into novels.

I hope you can step over those weeds and focus on what is in the raised beds of your story:-)

Lisa said...

They slow me down. I try to ignore them. But they definitely slow me down. I pick too much. I need to write in layers and that first draft is the foundation/voice. That's what needs to be lay down first. Then character. Then pretty sentences. (okay, I skipped a lot). Then plot holes. Then details. Then polish. And again. Then done. A lot of layers.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I've got a ton of weeds sprouting up in my MS. It's one of the things I have to go back and prune for. Mostly high word count and stuff that made sense when I wrote it, but I can't remember now. You know. That kind of stuff.

Good luck on the garden!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I am really jealous because I would LOVE a garden like that and grown my own veggies and herbs.

The weeds in my manuscript slow me down a bit, too, but I am determined to just continue forward otherwise I'm afraid it'll never get done. :)

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

I love the analogy to your garden, Natalie. Well said.

But, I think us writers will always see the weeds, even when our novels are finished. I've read that many authors reflect back and think 'I wish I could write that again'.

Letting go of it is the hardest thing for me. I'm never fully happy with it. But let go of it, I must!

Hope your garden is finished someday soon :)

Mary Campbell said...

Love your raised gardens - I want some. But like I am with most things - writing included, I'm easily discouraged by the weeds. Your so right though - it's a work in process and every little bit helps make it better. Great analogy. Don't give up your garden or book and I won't either.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Natalie, I just admire the fact that you're in the middle of a WIP. I'm finding it hard to get into my next one due to other obligations. So, if you can steal a moment to just be thankful you're in the middle of the mess instead of on the other side of it, just wishing you were, perhaps that will help you move through it a little more easily. :) Sometimes it takes an outside view to help you see: you're just where you're supposed to be. And a beautiful creation will be the result!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

This is EXACTLY what I am struggling with right now. I will not let myself go back, but the manuscript problems are killing me! I. Just. Have. To. Finish. THEN! Then I can go back.