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!