I know next-to-nothing about plants. Their botanical inner-workings are a complete mystery to me. If it looks like they need water, I water them. I think they need fertilizer? (Which I like to call plant Propel, which is not to be confused with Brawndo.)
Anyway, that's literally my gardening technique this year. Throw some seeds in a pot and see what happens. Almost everything, I'm proud to say, has exploded (like the oregano depicted above) -- largely thanks to Mother Nature and nothing I did specifically. Some plants are behaving oddly; my marigolds are STRONGLY LEANING TO THE LEFT. No idea what happened there.
Since I've got a few herbs that are approaching the Outer Limits, I came up with the new-to-me idea of drying them for household use and/or fun gifts. I wound up getting some chalkboard labels and jars for a reasonable price at Michael's, and am going to include a chalkboard pen in the gift.
To dry them, I'll cut the stems, wash and paper towel dry, then band together and band again to a paper bag. Never done that before either, so we'll see what happens.
Yes, dear reader, “throw some seeds in a pot and see what happens” is also an observation about writing.
I feel there's a danger in putting pressure on every word we write, to assume every manuscript will be published or sell, because that doesn’t allow time for growth. No time to plant seeds, wander in the rich soils of our imagination, and see what happens. Not every idea can (or will) take root. Sometimes, ideas do need to get tossed--especially when we collaborate with other people on group projects, when we work on media/tie-in stories, comics, and games, and when we work with editors trained to bring out our story’s best.
That said, there’s a lot of anxiety about the time it takes to explore a narrative or an idea. Time is a precious commodity for writers, because we often have to do more than “just write”—especially when you start adding in accounting, administrivia, pitching, researching, promoting, etc. It’s easy to spend our writing time doing everything but writing. Gah!
So, here’s a quick writing exercise you can do in five, ten minutes. Just plant some story seeds and see what happens!
1. Choose a random year.
2. Pick a season. (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter)
3. Choose an item.
4. Select a genre.
5. Write your item's description.
What did you come up with? Did you have fun? Get any story ideas out of this?