Wednesday, September 8, 2010


By Ruby Johnson

"A garden should require no more time than it takes to drink two cups of coffee in the morning and two martinis in the evening.”-Dan Franklin

Dan Franklin’s unique philosophy on gardening worked in providing him a beautiful, but easy care garden, because he relegated his gardening to manageable amounts of time according to his two cups of coffee and two martini equation.


I’m not suggesting that you grow a garden, even though the benefits emotionally and physically are great.
However, the theory of managing your writing time using this formula has merit.

 How much time do you spend drinking coffee or tea in the morning? Thirty minutes? One hour? How about the evening after work? To unwind, another cup of coffee or tea? Or a beer? Or a Martini? One hour? If you’re a non-drinker, then equate it to watching a one-hour TV program.
If you’re passionate about your dream of writing a novel, then you learn to combine tasks to create a succession of scenes and sequels, tiering of layers and textures for characters, and a believeable plot.You learn what works and are willing to change what doesn’t.
You write incredible amounts of back-story, fitting it into the story where it makes most sense. Each change is a step toward a successfully designed story.

In a garden, if a plant doesn't thrive or look right in a particular location,  you move it to a place where it will grow and provide a stand-out color.

 In a book,  you put your scenes on roller-skates and move them back and forth until you find a space where they will provide the most zing.

A good novel is a product of careful planning and patient experimenting just like a garden. But once you start a book, it requires tending.  A garden requires fertilizer, water, weeding,  and fighting  pests each day. As an author you plan, you write, you add, you move, you fight self-doubt, then you create with your words  and they become a picture of artistry created by you. You find the time to do it.

In the fall, you fertilize, you save the seeds, you plant the bulbs you choose the colors, and you plan your next garden.

To begin your next novel, you find ideas, you choose the characters, you plan the plot, and you start the next story. You just write it.

What you get may be a thing of unexpected beauty.

What do you do to keep yourself on track with writing?

The pictures of flowers are mine and you may use them as long as you link back to this blog and do not sell them for profit.-- RubyJohnson


Anonymous said...

Good post and absolutely gorgeous pictures. Do you garden?

Jeff Turner said...

Pacing one's self is part of this equation. One way or the other try to spend some time each day on your writing one way or the other.

Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, I do garden. However, here in Texas, it means spring and fall gardens. Everything burns up in the summer heat when July and August roll around. Then the first week of September we plant again.
Thank you for stopping by.

Ruby Johnson said...

You're absolutely right. An author told me years ago to leave a sentence half finished so you could pick right up with your story. It's easier to finish a sentence than to create a new one.

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures....I think the concept is great...I actually spend lots of time feeding my emotions by listening to music or reading something to fuel me. For example, I always listen to Otis Redding "thats how strong my love is" in order to write out love scenes. I guess like a flower in the garden I have learned to treat those external elements as garden tending tools for my writing.....

Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks for your comments on my pictures. I am an amateur. I know many authors write with music. It inspires them. I have never been able to do it. I find myself listening to the music versus thinking about writing.

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