Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NaNo, to me, is like a new flower garden

NaNoWriMo July Camp is my first NaNo. It's a lot of hard work but I'm having a great time. The brand new garden my husband and I put in on Sunday is amazingly parallel.

I do not (repeat not) have a green thumb. I've had to learn a lot of craft in order to not end up with brown shriveled houseplants and flowerless weed-infested outdoor gardens. Every plant that thrives is a miracle, and flowering is just plain inexplicable but cause for rejoicing.

I've learned a few tricks from watching real gardeners. The first thing to do is prepare the soil.  With a brand new garden what this means (to me, remember, not an expert) is breaking up what's there so it's manageable chunks. Then I level it off and pile as much good topsoil on as I can reasonably afford on top. Sunday, that took about four hours.

Then comes the fun part, picking plants. Real gardeners grow theirs from scratch but I can't tell a weed from a rose until it's grown (and has a helpful label :) so I buy them or gratefully take what friends offer.

Then comes the almost-as-much-fun part, placing the plants. I remember my theater director saying, "Clumps, people! No straight lines!" so I arrange the pots in little triangles and diamonds on the smooth dark (prepared) soil. When it looks good hubby & I start digging holes.

Next comes the secret my gardener friend gave me--fill the holes with plant root grower. There are a number on the market but mine turns the water a very pretty blue, added bonus :) Splash some in the pots too. Put the plants in, water some more. Cover with mulch (we used bark nuggets this year) and voila! Looks almost like real gardeners had a hand.

So how's this like NaNo? Normally when I sit down to write, I try to read through what I've done before so I have a nice continuity going, and I try to have the scene plotted before I write it. Like doing a garden a bit at a time, it's painstaking and slow.

NaNo has given me freedom to just write. It's not always the prettiest of prose and certain plot and character points clash like fighting mutant ninja trashcans, but that's okay. Right now I'm spreading topsoil, getting ideas for where the plants will go. There's a joy in pouring out words that I don't have the other way. That joy is like the gardener's secret, the fertilizer going into the holes that will make richer, stronger character and plot.


  1. Thanks to Mrs. Missive of Goodreads Kindle Smut group for getting me involved in camp! This has been a wonderful thing for me, with the added plus of 50,000 sparkling new words at the end of it.

  2. I saw that lovely little winner ribbon on your profile over at the Camp NaNo website. Congrats! I am so glad you had a good time. Now that we've both hit our 50k...time for s'mores!