On gardening days I am struck by the similarities between writing and gardening. I know one is a sedentary pursuit and the other anything but. Think of weeding out extraneous matter, re-planning whole sections, consigning failures to the compost bin, leaving well alone for a good long while, thinking about what to do before acting. Style is personal but obeying the ‘rules’ can make for pleasure and harmony.
On writing days, I worry about the garden and often nip out to snag a few brambles, or prune rampant roses, when the plot is thorny.
Perhaps this should tell me something.
With one book to your name you can’t call yourself a writer, Sunny Boy maintains. Well I have written four so far, only one submitted and accepted and two ready to send. I have agonised over story, characters, style punctuation and plot long enough. I have lived with the story and the characters, even dreamed of them and finally think they are on their own and ready to go into the world. Well, I prepare to send them, ready or not, to share their story, first with the trusted few, who will be able to tell me, ‘no mate, you’re away with the fairies there.’ Or else (fingers crossed) ‘it’s got something.’
I wonder how many times Eimear Mc Bride was told ‘no mate.’ I think it took her nine years to find a publisher for a Girl is a Half Formed Thing . Maybe the world just wasn’t ready for her.