Friday, January 18, 2013

Growing Zones for Your Next Novel

Something happens to me in the middle of winter. I begin to consider what things are going to look like in the spring.

Perhaps we're all like that. Already tired of piles of snow, wind chill factors, bundling up, trying not to slide on the ice, we're ready for bright blooms, green grass and a walk in the air without being worried about getting too cold.

Growing zones are a bit like that. Sure, there are places in your home that you may still be able to grow a plant, but you'd rather be planting your garden. You may even be able to take a vacation to a warm zone. You can take pictures to remember the sights and the smells, though you probably won't be bringing a plant back.

The best you can do is to enjoy the zone you are in when you're in it rather than complaining about the zone that's there. If you forget like me, the complaining escalates until the enjoyment of the season has diminished to nothing.

Photo by: Smabs Sputzer, courtesy of Flickr
Writing can be a bit like that. We may have a new short story but get hung up on the season we should be writing about. Consider writing about winter the way you are experiencing it right now rather than searching for a fond memory of the past. Not only will you begin to feel some joy, your thoughts will be where they probably need to be to make you the most happy--in the current moment.

Photo by Capt' Courageous, courtesy of

I don't know about you, but my growing zone right now includes piles of white snow, icicles dripping almost to the ground, and trees and trellises filled with crusty, white icy cubes. Just yesterday, all this joy made its way into my new novel and I could feel it.

For this moment at least I'm happy for the growing zone I am experiencing, though not much plant growing is taking place; if you consider plant growing in the literal sense. I have a poinsettia in the living room, still burning red though losing a few of its leaves, but I do have my growing grandchildren to fill in the growing zone gaps.

Believe it or not.

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