Posted by: nancyisanders | September 10, 2011

Writing is Like Gardening

How are you progressing on your middle grade novel? Are you having fun with it? Or are you getting writer’s block big time?

I know so many writers who start out to write a novel but never finish. They got bogged down with the whole story and quit somewhere in the middle.

The goal I have with my new middle grade novel is to just enjoy the journey and write the first draft from beginning to end. I want to finish this story and get it down on paper so I can really dig into it!

The main reason I’ve seen writers quit in the middle of the story is that they’re afraid. They’re afraid that writing is like baking a cake. If they forget to put in a certain ingredient at the very beginning, it will be ruined. For example, if they forget to add the flour to the cake when they mix it up, it will be horrible when they pull it out of the oven. Imagine!

The thing to remember is that writing isn’t like baking a cake. It’s more like gardening. For example, I have a flower garden in my back yard. I’ve planted lots of pretty flowers there this past year plus 2 birch trees and 1 Japanese maple.

Recently, I got tired of a flower I had in my front planter in front of our house. I dug it up, (Jeff helped!) divided it into three bunches, and replanted it in my back flower garden. Then I took out some other flowers I didn’t really like and spread bark around for a different look.

Why is writing like gardening? Because in a garden you can plant flowers. Then, after the whole garden is planted, you can go back and dig some up and throw them away. Other flowers you can move from one spot to another. A garden can always be a beautiful and fun work in progress.

When we write a first draft, it WILL NOT be perfect! But unlike that cake that you forgot to put in the flour and it was ruined, your story won’t be ruined if you forget to put something in it or add something that shouldn’t be there. Like a gardener working in the dirt, you can go back into your story and move parts around, add in more parts, delete some parts altogether, and enjoy shaping it into the story you want it to be.

So if you’ve stopped writing on your middle grade novel, just jump back in and write the next chapter. And the next one and the next one until it’s done. Write the first draft from beginning to end. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. It won’t be! But you can go back in and change it until it shines.


  1. Wonderful gardening analogy! Your yard looks beautiful!

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