Nikki's Notebook

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

Posts Tagged ‘garden

Working on a new site and garden week 5.

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I am working on transitioning this blog to a self-hosted domain and making it part of a larger website. The other day I learned how to export this blog here as an xml file and upload it to the new site. But I’m not quite ready to start posting from the new site. I’m chipping away at it in bits and pieces.

I’ve had a few obstacles. One of them has been learning how WordPress works when you’re using it to make a website. I will get stuck on one thing that I want to do and then get super frustrated when I can’t figure out how to do it right away. In these situations, when I get over the frustration that makes me want to cry and throw things, I have to laugh at myself. How many times, as a tutor of school-age children, have I lamented that they get frustrated when everything doesn’t come easily to them? I try to explain to them that it takes mistakes to learn, that you have to let yourself be bad at something so you can practice and get good, and that they just need to keep trying. All the while, I’ve gotten caught in the same trap. If something doesn’t come easily right away, I let myself get distracted, procrastinate, and go do something else. My biggest weakness? I don’t like asking for help.

Here are last week’s shots of the garden. It’s gotten even greener by now.

Baby lettuce! I need to thin these, and then eat the thinnings 🙂
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Snap peas have started to climb the trellis.

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Zucchini plants getting bigger, and the whole garden getting greener.

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Jalapeños! Sadly, they weren’t spicy. Apparently too much water can do that to them. We had the same problem last year.

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Another overall garden shot from the other side.

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Written by nikkinbird

July 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

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.
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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.
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Lettuce sprouts growing in among the peppers! I thinned these, too, after taking pictures.
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Closeup of cute lettuce sprouts.
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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!
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Big beef tomato flowers.
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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!
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And, a shot of the tomatoes now, to compare with when they get really big!
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