Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Posts Tagged ‘beans

Can reading writing advice hurt your writing?

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In this first revision of my novel, I’m changing a lot of things drastically. That means I’m throwing a lot of good writing out the window, but I’m still keeping and altering some scenes. It’s tough, as a writer, to go back and pick out those parts of the scenes I want to keep, and then to notice that the rest of it, the part I’m leaving out, isn’t really that bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. How did I not notice that when I was first writing it?

The thing is, I don’t feel like the writing I’m doing now, to replace it, is as good. Is it because I just can’t see it until later? Or is it because I recently read some books about writing and editing fiction, and I’m letting my inner editor have too much reign at this point in the process? I may be worrying too much about using words other than “said” as dialogue tags and stripping my writing of adverbs. This advice is useful, but not if it makes me self-conscious to the point of making my writing sterile and lifeless.

On the other end of things, I get too frustrated with the advice that tells me to “just do it. Just get words on paper,” and focuses a lot on word counts. I WANT to know more about the editing process and what it looks like to sit down and chisel away at what I’ve already written. Apparently, I just need to know where to apply that advice.

My conclusion is that writers need to take advice self-consciously. Obviously, anything that causes you anxiety and keeps you from writing is not good. My solution is to take a step back, and give some conscious thought to how I’m following the advice, or whether it would benefit me to follow it. Another solution is to filter the advice and make sure to only apply it to the part of the process I’m in. This can be tricky sometimes, since I’m still exploring my own process and figuring out what works for me. And that’s the thing about advice, too. Writers are all different, and we each need to figure out what works for us.

On to another note. I have pictures of Week 2 of my garden. Seeds are sprouting, things are growing! I harvested my first pepper, but the plant came with the almost full-grown pepper on it, so I don’t think that counts.

Here’s a pic of the whole garden. I think it’ll be fun to have a week by week collection of these and watch it get greener and greener overall.
GardenWeek2 #1

My zucchini seeds sprouted! I plan to tie them up on the green mesh as they get bigger. I may be a little too late planting them, but we’ll see. Que será, será.
GardenWeek2 #2

Baby zucchini closeup. I planted two seeds in each hole in case one didn’t sprout. Sadly, I did pull the second sproutling out of each pair. I hate doing it even though I know thinning is a part of gardening.
GardenWeek2 #3

Lettuce sprouts growing in among the peppers! I thinned these, too, after taking pictures.
GardenWeek2 #4

Closeup of cute lettuce sprouts.
GardenWeek2 #5

Green bell peppers! The peppers were already on the plant when we bought it. Yay for head starts. I’m excited for this one, because last year I bought one before our garden was built and wasn’t able to plant it for about a month. I think we’ll get a lot more peppers this year!
GardenWeek2 #6

Big beef tomato flowers.
GardenWeek2 #7

I planted snap peas and pole beans near the trellis and next to the tomato plants so they can climb the tomato cages. Last year, our tomatoes got so huge, I’m not super worried about other plants blocking their sun. If the beans and peas grow too fast, I’ll just cut them back. Here’s a pole bean seedling. Cute!
GardenWeek2 #8

And, a shot of the tomatoes now, to compare with when they get really big!
GardenWeek2 #9

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Camp NaNoWriMo Progress, Summer, and Vegetable Garden!

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2012-06-10 10.24.29

Camp NaNoWriMo Progress

For about one day, I was caught up on my novel. I really was. I even had, like, 200 extra words. On Friday that all went out the window. See, Chris is working in Minneapolis full time, so he’s only home on the weekends. That means that, whenever he’s here, the regular schedule I’ve so diligently put myself on gets thrown out in favor of doing fun things together or catching up on house and yard things together. And I’m totally all right with this. Our summer is short here in Duluth, so we have to enjoy each moment of it that we get. I have a week off now, so I will catch up. Plus, sometimes the thing that Chris and I decide to do together is go to a coffee shop and work on our respective projects. So then I do get more writing done those times when he’s here.

Tashi enjoys when we let him hang out in the yard with us, too. His favorite activities are getting pet while basking in the sun and exploring. He is not an outside cat, but we let him come outside supervised for short periods of time. When we don’t let him out, we sometimes have the pleasure of listening to him yowl at us in the windowsill for 15 minute stretches of time.

What I like about summer, when it’s not too hot, is that I can do everything outside. I’m sitting in the shade right now on the deck, looking out into the yard and admiring my freshly planted vegetable garden. While I enjoyed my coffee after breakfast this morning, I knitted on the pair of socks I’ve been working on for Chris forever! It’s taken so long because for a while I was having weird pain spasms all up and down my left arm and wrist, so I thought it was a good idea not to do the things that caused them, like knitting. It was sad, but I think it’s had a good rest now and is over.

Vegetable Garden

Yesterday we worked outside for ten hours! We got up early enough to be at the farmer’s market when it opened at 7am, a first for us. My attempt at starting plants indoors failed again this year, so we relied on the farmer’s market for some great plants to get our garden going. The $25 investment in seedlings will be well worth all the vegetables we get later!

This is our second year wtih our magnificent raised bed garden. Last summer I planted 13 tomato plants way too close to each other, and they EXPLODED all over the garden and flopped over the pepper plants and stole the sun from them. Add to that, we’d planted late because of the time it took to build the garden and get the dirt, so we had a LOT of green tomatoes in September. I have high hopes for this year–I was more moderate with my 6 nicely spaced tomato plants, but I may have crammed some other things in there tight. What I did, though, was intersperse different kinds of plants together. So I planted onions and lettuce in the spaces between the peppers, and I put snap pea and pole bean seeds practically everywhere because they put nitrogen back in the soil, which helps the other plants grow.

I’m going to take pictures of the garden as it grows. Here is Day 1.

The big plants in the foreground are the pepper plants. We have 2 jalapeño plants, 1 banana pepper, 1 hungarian hot wax pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 2 others that I don’t know the name of that Chris’s mom gave us. On the back row are the tomato plants. 2 big slicing tomatoes and 4 cherry tomato plants. I love love love cherry tomatoes, especially straight off the vine.

The big trellis behind the tomato plants will be for snap peas and pole beans. The section of green fencing on the inside of the garden has zucchini seeds planted under it, and I plan to tie them up and grow them vertically. I haven’t got them in much space, so it’ll be an experiment. I won’t cry if it doesn’t work.

On the zucchini side of the garden, the little green spikes you can see are leeks. I planted a few rows of them and had so many left over that I planted them in every extra space I could. I did the same thing with the onions on the pepper side of the garden. Both deter pests with their oniony smell, so I’m hoping the random scattering will be good. I was really excited to see, when I pulled the onion seedlings apart, that many were already forming tiny little bulbs! Onions are one of my favorite vegetables, so I will be really excited if they’re successful in my garden.

2012-06-10 10.22.20
2012-06-10 10.22.58 2012-06-10 10.23.12 2012-06-10 10.20.46

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