Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finding Inspiration Through Planting

Recently, I planted 25 pots of flowers. Overkill, I know but that's me. I bought my favorites--vincas, geraniums, petunias, and impatiens. I selected colorful shades of purple, red, yellow, pink and orange and gathered my tools--a bench, gloves, a little gardening hoe, rake, sunscreen and a bottle of water.

I buckled my knee pads (highly recommended) and piped several CD's outside -- Michael McDonald, Blake Shelton, Lionel Richie, Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart. Yes, I have diverse taste in music but that's not the point here.

As I started digging in the dirt, I regretted that I had to do this chore instead of writing. I knew it would take at least one full day to plant 25 pots of flowers and my mind wondered to how much writing I could do if I'd put fingers to keyboard for that many hours.

Soon, though, I delighted in the cheerful pots brightening the veranda. Our two Labs "helped" and I observed how they preferred to drink out of a fountain rather than their dog bowl. I watched the birds swoop overhead and butterflies swirl around the flowers. I coulld smell the luscious lilac bushes wafting through the air, even though they were far away.

As I planted each variety, I noticed how some of the leaves were shiny and smooth while others were velvety and rough. I again encountered the killer hummingbird that taunted me last summer. The territorial little brat attacked me three times last year. Once, he buzzed smack into the middle of my back, scaring me half to death. The little bully. After many sweaty hours, I realized that planting actually helped my writing. It made me think more descriptively and awakened all my senses.

Planting also gave me ideas and hobbies for my characters. Our characters have to do things. They might as well have a pretty yard. It also provided humor (and angst) such as the hummingbird and our silly dogs. So, let the watering (and writing) begin. What have you done lately that inspired your writing?


  1. Killer hummingbirds? Sounds like a great Sci-Fi movie to me!

    Working in the yard is a great way to write. I've come up with a lot of story ideas while putting in my garden. It's not always about putting the pen to paper. I think "writing" is always with us.

  2. I'm not too good in the gardening dept.--kill most plants that I handle. Held my breath that the swan planters would survive until after the conference. I do agree that we are always "writing" even in the "mind-set" stage.

    I saw a small dish of buckeyes on one of the desks at work and my mind started working on an article about my father-in-law. Deceased, now--ALWAYS carried a buckeye in his pocket for good health and good luck.

    I have some definite quirks in my thinking processes--always amazes me the things that catch my attention and move me to write.

  3. I'd say you're quite a gardener, Ginny. Those flower-filled swans were beautiful!

    Love your buckeye observation. I believe my grandfather talked about those as well. It is interesting what sparks an idea. Our minds are always working.

  4. I agree, Beth, doing other things that we love can stimulate our thinking. Writing does involve thinking--and inspiration that comes from those 'other' things we do.

    Unfortunately, I'm like Ginny. I'm not good with flowers or other plants. Not only does everything I plant die, no matter how carefully I follow instructions, my allergies just lay me low if I work outside too long.

    Reading inspires me. Not copy-cat reading, but something that allows me to free up the subconscious and work on a problem.

    The best thing, tho, is driving. I can see a plot SO much more clearly when driving. The problem--remembering what I come up with by the time I get home to write it down. One of the ORA speakers Saturday said she sometimes calls and leaves a message on her voicemail so she won't forget. THAT I'm going to try.

    Happy thinking!

  5. Reading inspires me, too, Barb. And...I've always gotten inspiration in the shower for some reason. I may get ideas for a marketing campaign or a novel, whichever one I'm working on.

    I like the idea of calling and leaving a message also. I've been known to pull off the shoulder and write notes on a grocery list, the back of an envelope or whatever is in my purse. Knowing shorthand helps. I can make lots of notes on a small space-- and quickly--before they seep out of my brain. Take my non-credit shorthand class this Sept! I'd love to have some writer friends in there.

  6. Love flowers. I had sinus headaches. Elephant Ears were one of my triggers. Hope you planted yours away from the seating area.