Spring Gardens

When I’m not juggling writing, editing, and time with my family, one of my favourite pastimes at this time of year is gardening. Gardening is a lot like writing. How?

Spring garden

  • When you make a change to solve one problem, it often creates a new problem to solve.
  • You often have to yank out and discard a bunch of weeds and if you’re lucky, you find some lovely little gems hidden underneath.
  • It makes your back hurt if you do too much of it at once.
  • No two gardeners/writers will tackle the same piece of ground in exactly the same way.
  • And it’s never really done. (Okay, I guess a writing project eventually gets called finished, but really, like a well-established garden, one can always imagine more changes to make that might improve it.)

Spring garden

This weekend I took a break from writing, editing, and gardening to go on a tour of gardens in the area with my sister. It was interesting to see which felt most inviting, most like places one would be happy to spend a lot of time, and to analyze why this was so, and why one garden seemed to lack a soul, despite being technically beautiful. (Gee, some writing is like that too, isn’t it?)

Today my novel and my garden called out for my attention. And they both got some, too. (I’m not telling which got more.)

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. patricia on June 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    That's so funny, Kathy – I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday while puttering around in my garden. When I'm feeling frustrated with my garden, it's like I've got this knot in my head that needs to be untangled. Then I'll plant something new, or move something to another spot, and for a time, I will feel better. But that feeling never lasts, and eventually I'll be back, tackling some new challenge. Just like writing.

    Wonderful presentation tonight at CANSCAIP, btw. I especially loved that video you showed the group.

  2. Kathy Stinson on June 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I like how you continued this comparison, Patricia – so true!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the presentation at CANSCAIP, and especially the video. I wasn't sure when I decided to include it, if too much of its appeal was knowing Woryonwon. I guess not. 🙂

  3. patricia on June 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    One of the things I really loved about watching that video was the look on your face as you showed it to the group. I could tell by your expressions, just how much that experience in Liberia meant to you. On a much smaller scale, I have an inkling of that feeling of being changed after traveling to a very different place. For me, that place was Nunavut. How I wish I could go back!

  4. Kathy Stinson on June 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Perhaps some day you will!

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