Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Beating the Garden Drum


garden 2015It’s time. The way the weather has been for the past week, we’re pretty sure we won’t get frost anymore this spring. Every year is different. Last winter we had snow in May, so we had to wait to put the garden in. This year it’s been dry, but warm.

Typically in MN, the safe date to put the garden in is Memorial Day weekend. The problem is, we have a short enough growing season that some veggies, like bell peppers and winter squash, may not have enough time to get ripe before the plants succumb to frost at the end of summer. The peppers don’t have a chance to turn red and the winter squash don’t develop the hard rinds needed to keep them good through Christmas.

So, we like to plant as early as soon as we’re certain we won’t get any more frosts. Some veggies are okay with light frosts, but we usually have trouble getting the garden prepped that early. This year, though, we got a three-point* tiller for the tractor. It works so well my hubby tilled the garden over and over just because it was fun!

In case you’re wondering, my garden (see the pic 🙂 ) is about 75′ by 30′. Yeah, I know, it’s HUGE. Every year I tell myself I’m going to do a smaller garden. Ha! The worst part is weeding. We mulch what we can, but that’s a LOT of mulch. After weeks of weeding, watering, and hoping the weather cooperates, the taste of that first ear of corn, or the first cucumber, or the first ripe tomato, makes it worth it.

Well, except when I’m being eaten alive by mosquitoes or it’s hot enough to melt tar.

With a garden, one should plan what veggies go where. By keeping a record, you can make sure you rotate the veggies the next year. By rotating where each vegetable gets planted, you confuse the bad bugs, or at least that’s the theory. My plan this year was set, until my hubby got till-happy. So, back to the drawing paper. Which leads my wandering mind back to writing and planning. Planning a book is kind of like planning a garden. An outline allows you to lay out your scenes (rows of veggies). If you want to shuffle scenes around, it’s easier to do it in the outline than in the manuscript. I use Scrivener, and one of the nice things about it is you can drag scenes around if you like, but if you use something like Word, it’s not as easy, so planning becomes even more important.

Which reminds me. I’ve been working with beat sheets to fine-tune my WIP’s plot. I like the opportunity to really think about each scene. When I do my outline, I don’t get into the scene detail. I don’t think I know the story well enough until I finish the rough draft ala NaNoWriMo. If you’re a planner, how detailed is your outline? Do you outline each scene, or just hit the waypoints of the plot?

I love spring, I love the idea of growing my own vegetables, but I don’t like how my writing time shrinks. I look forward to rainy days so I have an excuse to write more!

*Three-point refers to the mount on a tractor that has three points of attachment to an implement. The top attachment is a pivot, and the lower two are hydraulic cylinders that raise and lower the implement. The whole arrangement is set up like a triangle. You can find more info here: Explanation of a three-point hitch.


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

4 thoughts on “Beating the Garden Drum

  1. You’re garden looks wonderful and ready to go. The planting is my favorite part. And yes, gardening cut into writing time, but it’s also an opportunity to muse. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie, your garden is HUGE! I used to have a small one but fell out of the habit. Now I just do a few plants every year, but I do love fresh veggies….mostly because I love veggies, LOL.

    I need to learn Scrivener. I have the program but haven’t taken the time to learn it yet. Admittedly, I don’t do much outlining, but who knows….with a tool that makes it easier I might attempt it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fresh veggies are the best! And there’s nothing quite like going out to the garden, picking some corn, green beans, and zucchini, and cooking them right away for lunch. Yum!

      Scrivener has an outlining function that lets you drag and drop each entry. I like it, even though it’s a bit of a learning curve. They have a nice orientation tutorial that comes with it. I know I don’t use all the bells and whistles, but it’s really nice for rearranging scenes and chapters. I’m debating on whether to start organizing by scene; I organize by chapter right now, but maybe by scene will work better when tweaking structure. Scrivener lets you do it however you like.

      Liked by 1 person

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