Acceptance and Anxiety: garden blogs vs. writers’ blogs

I’m both a gardener and a writer. My blog posts are split between these two interests, which may not be the best idea for finding a readership, but it means I can usually come up with something to post about.

The blogs I follow are similarly divided, although there are more on writing than gardening. Going through the daily accumulation of posts in my reader, I’ve noticed something interesting. Garden blogs are way more relaxed than writers’ blogs. Even when reporting winter losses or projects that didn’t work out, gardeners display acceptance. They celebrate what is, even while aspiring toward new challenges (getting blue poppies to stay alive and bloom again, for example).

Writers’ blogs, on the other hand, seethe with frantic anxiety, always concerned with the right way to do this and the wrong way to do that. How to get motivated. The right way to start a novel. Ten words you should never use. Why you must hire a professional editor. The best ways to market, make sales and self-promote. Stern admonitions that Writing is a Business. There’s so much at stake for writers! They’re running as hard as they can, looking behind at the competition snapping at their heels. I see so many pleas for honest reviews and for advice on using social media. So many shoals of blue links to books, websites and blogs. Look! Buy! Read! Review!

Just writing that paragraph has made me a bit weary and discouraged. If writing is such a creative joy (and I know it is), it’s sad that bringing the fruits of one’s efforts to the attention of those who might appreciate them should be such a painful struggle. If no one buys your books, you’re a failure.

Gardening can be a struggle too, but usually it’s a physical one — moving yards of soil or compost, chopping roots, spending hours doubled over pulling up weeds, getting dirty, hot and sweaty. The rewards of these efforts, though, are immediate and unequivocal. But there’s another difference, a more subtle one: gardeners live in the hand of Nature, which is eternal. There’s always another year, another plant, another reason to hope.

September 26, 2014


  1. Very true. One of the reasons I enjoy gardening is the satisfaction in seeing the end results. Watching the perennials come back every year after being cut to ground level. The purple spires on the Ajugas, the brilliant white of Philadelphus.

    I created a small pond and I reckon the weight I lost digging it out was equal to the weight of mud I dug up. But now, seeing frogs jumping in and out and marginals taking off makes all the effort worthwhile.

    The contrast to writing is stark. I think a lot of the anxiety generated is simply writers trying to gain attention with click bait, rather than saying anything useful.


    1. Self-publishing and all that goes with it (and blogging too) are recent phenomena and still evolving, while gardening has been around forever. I suppose that might be part of it.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. With a million new books on Amazon each year I’ve concluded that it’s better to plant another row of Pink Fir Apple spuds than add 500 words to my current novel. (ps – found my way here via the Story Ape)


    1. You’re probably right. I think we need to distinguish between writing (creating) and selling books (flogging), so as not to get too discouraged. And the Story Ape is an amazing guy!


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