What keeps you working? All the tea in China

What small things keep you working on an ordinary Wednesday?  Or any other day of the week?  Here are some of mine:

All the tea in China.

I could probably manage to drink all the tea in India and Sri Lanka too.  Sometimes I wonder if I really like the taste or if it’s just an excuse to get up every now and again.

Fiddling about.

Sometimes the best way to get going is to do all the fiddly little things that I’ve been putting off.  Once you start feeling productive (even if all you’ve really managed to do is put off the inevitable Big Job by doing lots of less important ones) it’s somehow easier to carry on into the Big Job.

Changing tack.

One of our family sayings is, “Bored now.”  There’s a time for really getting stuck into a project to the exclusion of all others (that would be when you hear the impending whistle of a deadline about to whoosh past, à la Douglas Adams), and there’s a time for changing tack and doing something else.  That would be when you find yourself muttering, “bored now…”

Saving the new book.

I bought a new book but I’ve been saving it to read at the end of the day as a reward for a job well done.  How virtuous am I?  Actually, not very.  I lied.  The only reason I haven’t started reading it yet is because the delivery man only just delivered it.  Excuse me, I must be going now.

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Digging Deep

Books, books…Books about prehistory, books about gardening, novels, books about writing, books of short shories, books about creativity, knitting books, books about running a business from home… Everywhere in my house there are books.  Discovering a book about creativity and gardening – well, that seemed too good to be true, so when the chance to read and review one came my way, I had to jump at it.  Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots through Gardening by Fran Sorin had me out in the garden relishing getting my hands dirty before I was halfway through.

[Yes, I was given a free Kindle copy to review.  But I would have bought it anyway, and been very glad I did – in fact I may well buy a paper copy too, since there’s something satisfying about holding a physical book, plus I like the cover.  And it’s easier to dip in and out of a paper book.  But I digress.  That’s a whole post in itself and I’ll save it for another day.]

In Digging Deep, Fran gently takes you by the hand and leads you through ‘7 stages of creative awakening’, showing beautifully how gardening can be a truly creative endeavour.  There are plenty of practical tips too.  But it’s not just for gardeners – I found that I was reading a lot of her words and applying them to writing, particularly when she talks about creativity (and gardening) as a journey that just keeps on evolving.

There’s something irresistible and infectious about her love of gardening and the creative process.  I’ve always been a very practical gardener (I grow veg and fruit and don’t think too much about the overal aesthetic), but the book made me realise that it’s my garden, and I can make it beautiful to me.  My favourite thing in my whole garden is a giant dahlia that I put in on a whim and which keeps getting bigger and more pink and exhuberant every year.  Secretly, I wanted the whole garden to have that feeling – and now, thanks to this book, I’m realising that it’s up to me to make sure that it does!

I’ll leave you with the words I enjoyed most from the book: “You cannot simply tap into your creative nature once and then expect to be done with it.  It’s a lifelong process – a continual commitment to being open to possibility, trusting your instincts, experimenting, taking risks, and revising.”  That sounds to me like a great description of the process of developing as a writer, or growing a business, as well as being a gardener!

So, if you feel in need of a dose of creative inspiration – whether you’re a gardener or not – do take a look at Digging Deep.  You too may find yourself itching to get back into your garden, or even back to your writing desk.