An Act of Faith


Gardening is an act of faith. I remember a friend of mine saying “I knew my Dad was going to get better when he went out and started planting up his vegetable garden”. His father had been very ill, and for a while it had looked like he might not recover. Planting the vegetables showed that he himself believed he would be around to harvest them. Gardening is indeed an act of faith.

I was reminded of this when reading a piece on Alec Nevala Lee’s excellent blog entitled ‘Are you a gardener or an architect’ referring to a quote from George R. R. Martin. The idea being that there are two types of writer: Architects, who plan everything beforehand and work to a blueprint, and Gardeners who start with the seed of an idea and then cultivate it and watch it grow. You should read the piece.

It is an interesting idea, but I don’t think I fall into either category. To me writing a novel is like going on a journey. You have a plan, you know where you want to get to, and you probably have a good idea of the route you want to take, but you still have to walk it. As you go along there will be things that surprise you and things that make you wonder, places where the going is hard and places where the view is worth it. Sometimes you can see your goal but you don’t know what’s round the next corner.

I’ve been walking my path for over two years and I’m nearly at journey’s end. I’m keeping up the pace, it’s January 8th and I’ve written 800 words this month, spot on my 100 words per day. Sometimes I feel impatient, I want to rush to the end so I can turn round and enjoy the view, but I know it’s not the way.

Sometimes writing is also an act of faith.

I wrote this a year and a half ago as I was coming to the finish of writing what became a trilogy of novellas. Given that I have now published the first, The Path Of Swords, it seemed a good time to look back. The first week has been pleasing, we’ve sold a few and at one point ranked around 43,000 which may not seem very high but isn’t bad out of over a million books!

Have a look at the book on in the US or in the UK


Path of swords watercolour (2)


4 thoughts on “An Act of Faith”

  1. I like “architect and gardener” so much more than “plotter and pantser”. I think I’m a bit of both too. When an idea first appears, I garden like hell. I let it float and bounce around in my head, scribbling down random thoughts and paragraphs, then once it starts to feel like I have a bit of a handle on it, I do the architecture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a good approach to me. I always worry about over planning. I think you at least have to leave space for your characters to do something that you weren’t expecting, otherwise their behaviour can become stilted.


  2. A nice reflective post Martin. I think we may have had this conversation before, but do you think whatever category we fall into it links to our personality? I find if I become too structured in my writing the creativity starts to waver. There is a good book called Messy by Tim Harford that looks into this in more depth. If you haven’t read it has some interesting insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for liking and commenting. I think personality has a lot to do with it. I’m the sort of person who is fairly untidy but knows where everything is. I tend to let stuff go and then have a sort out when I really have to. I pretty much write the same way. I’m going to look at the book. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

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