Making Plans and Finding Focus

Thursday 14 May 2020 10.00pm

Since the idea popped into my head recently, of writing about how my garden became what it is today, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and realising how much more of a story there is behind it; or to be more precise, how many stories.

I really hadn’t thought about it before, but much of the story of my life for the past 25 years or so is written in my garden. Highs and lows. Life and death. Love and loss. Friends and lovers. Successes and failures. Battles won and lost. They’re all there; all have formed the garden into the place it is now. 

The more I’ve let the idea percolate, the more stories keep coming to mind, and it’s paved the way to a new focus for my Patreon page.

The big picture of “seeing if I can make a living through writing and drawing” still applies, but just for now – while the world is in crisis and I for one am very much locked down – I want it to reflect the focus on one particular project.

So I’ve changed the description of my Patreon to “…creating a story about a tiny garden”, and altered what I’m offering for the different tiers, to reflect a new – albeit perhaps temporary – plan.

It’s still “using my writing and drawing skills” but now to create a book about my garden, that in turn tells a bit of the story of my life, and in particular highlights how good things can grow out of times that seem only bad.

First I’m going to create a timeline of all the changes that took this small outside space from just two plain strips of grass, open to the passing world, to the enclosed, semi private and secure garden full of beautiful, fragrant, colourful planting, with seating and working and storage areas, that it is today. I’ll be making notes as I go about the life events that prompted the changes – the wishes, the dreams, the hopes, and the fears. Digging out photos, and making drawings and design plans for each stage.

When all the planning is complete, I’m going to write the stories, chapters telling the life of the garden, with those bits of my life that influenced its growth woven in. I’ll turn the rough sketches into finished illustrations and use image editing programs and publishing programs on the computer to pull it all together and produce a book layout.

Finally I shall set about seeing if I can get the whole thing published.

For me it will be a journey of remembering and it won’t always be easy, but for the reader I intend for it to be something very different, full of creative solutions, practicalities and a fair sprinkling of triumph of hope over adversity! Something that’s needed now more than ever.

While this is is not going to be the answer to the “How do I make a living …?” problem – let’s be brutally honest, this is not going to be the next Harry Potter or make my fortune – it may however lead to other things. Who knows.

For now I’m writing it for my patrons. I can’t over state how much the support I receive over on Patreon is helpIng to motivate me and keep me accountable, and how immensely grateful I am for it.

I’m very excited about this little project – it feels as if this is the book I’ve been meant to write all along, I just didn’t know it until now.

2 thoughts on “Making Plans and Finding Focus”

  1. What a lovely, lovely idea, Judy. I’m excited to see how the project develops. Your plans resonate with an essay I read this morning in a book by Kim Stafford (The Muses Among Us) in which he describes his writing process in a series of steps, beginning with capturing fragments and phrases in the little notebooks he carries with him everywhere, and then pulling out a fragment to play with—writing a “postcard” to himself, expanding on it in a letter to a friend, and eventually through freewriting and revision, developing it fully into a story, essay, or poem. He describes the process as “quilting his solitudes”—each piece of writing becomes a kind of quilt block stitched together ten, twenty minutes at a time (the ‘solitudes’), which may then be stitched together with other blocks into a collection or book. What you’ve described above sounds like a vibrant and wonderful quilt!

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