Writing from my happy place.

Thanks for clicking on the link to ‘Writing from my happy place’. It’s been a while since I was last here with you, but I’m delighted to be back, and so glad you’ve joined me.

As said I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve sort of been away with the garden faeries; I’d have mentioned this sooner was it not for the fear of judgement, or people losing faith in me. But here I am once again, back in the blogosphere and speaking openly – for better or for worse.

Whilst moving through the last few years it is fair to say that I’ve experienced a good deal of change, most notably in my working days, and gardening ways. I’m certainly not alone, as many others have experienced similar too, leading lots of people to reflect more, to refocus, and re-evaluate their situations – my head has been in that space too.

Many have held steady career courses and weathered these turbulent times with confidence, but many have not, and have looked for positive change in new situations. As you probably know, I sought change, and whilst my endeavours barely got out of second gear, I do believe that every step of the way made a lasting and positive difference – not only to each place, I trust, but to me personally. I certainly churned a lot of compost over the last few years!

On reflection though, I’m coming to realise that the last few years have been somewhat experimental for me, where subconsciously I might have simply needed a new focus. If only I’d figured this out sooner I may not have frustrated those around me, or those further afield who watched on in bewilderment.

Experimental or not, those years have certainly been engaging, and pretty taxing too, and I’ve met some fabulous people and spent time in the most incredible places – Indeed I’ve been very fortunate. It has though become harder in recent months to continue blogging with as much freedom as before, and my Gardening Ways posts have dwindled.

At this point though, having found a little more stability in my working days, I’ve started questioning what to do with my blog. Should I develop and adapt the posts, if so how? Shall I shift focus to allotment gardening, or pick up on my garden and parks consultancy work somehow? Or, has the blog run its course, and is it time to call it a day? Your thoughts are of course welcome.

It might not seem like a big issue to some, but I’ve poured an awful lot of time into this blog over the years. It’s frustrating then, that I’ve struggled to deal with not blogging so often over the last few months, but I can reassure that my work with Gardening Ways is not done yet.

The turning point, if it was one, was a week or so ago when a proverbial apple fell out of the tree, and I realised something fundamental to this whole blogging dilemma. I’ve therefore made time to produce this very different post, both to record the point where my blogging world pivots, and reason why. Apologies if you were expecting pretty floral pictures by the way…maybe next time!

Firstly, my shift this year from working in frontline horticulture to consulting has meant that I now physically experience far fewer melancholic sunrises or soul nourishing sunsets. I enjoyed no professional propagating for borders or plant sales in spring, and there were no topiary shapes to clip in summer. Next week, there will be no ‘work’ pumpkins to carve or bird feeders to make for events, and my annual mowing mileage has literally dropped off the chart! I’ve practically switched from garden deliverer, to garden influencer you could say.

To those ends, it would seem that the daily free delivery of experiences, or fuel that I previously used to stoke my creative blogging furnace, disappeared overnight in January. That sudden perceived loss of fuel led to my heavily preened garden Journal posts fading away like dying coals in the grate, and that’s caused some feeling of frustration.

Secondly, I have on the whole considered Gardening Ways to be a blogging venture only, somewhere to post much loved images and support them with text, and not anything more. I’d be the first to say that it was never a writing voyage, at least not in the traditional sense, it was a place to record, to relate, and to be present; and I needed it for some reason.

I will admit though, that at one point I do remember adjusting all my ‘social’ labels to that of gardener and garden writer, in the hope that somehow the label itself might evolve me into one. But, did I really expect myself to carry the notion forward when every day I’d return to the task of gardening itself, and every night my eyes would be tired and creativity diminished?

In any case, deep down did I really possess the words to shift from blogger to writer? Evidently I thought not, as I remember it wasn’t long before I deleted those labels as it felt fraudulent, and I’ve stayed away from such labels to this day.

Furthermore, I’d say that I haven’t classed myself a writer because, whilst I might have secretly harboured those ideas, did I ever seriously consider making them reality? More often I occupied myself by playing things safe, and focusing on being a better gardener.

I now realise that I’ve been missing something, not just blogging in its physical sense, of delivering messages on the theme of gardening, but all of the creative process. I’ve not exactly sat around doing nothing, but over the last few months I’ve missed those hours of editing and creating articles off the back of random images. I’ve also missed the nervous anticipation of hitting that publish button and exposing my words to the world.

So where’s all this preliminary talk leading us? Well, I’ve realised that garden writing is not a skill you’re born with, but one you develop; alongside skills for sparking creativity and editing. Obviously, some people seem naturally talented, as in any walk of life, but whilst I’m certainly not elevating myself too high, there is hope that with a little practice and tuition, I could get there. (Wherever ‘there’ is of course!)

I’ve recognised very recently that writing can be a planned, mechanical, creative process, so why this hasn’t struck me before I just don’t know. I mean, I have followed my own procedures and developed routes to a blog post, but I’d rarely say that my posts displayed real creativity, far from it. If anything, my blog writing processes might actually have suppressed it.

The trigger, which for the time being will stay under wraps, has made me realise that the behind-the-scenes creative process of writing itself; has driven me all along. Every photo or video clip I’ve snatched each day has also been part of that process, but aside from gardening itself, I’m never more engaged or in-the-moment than when I’m doing this – writing.

Every time I’ve sat down to write, sometimes out of desire, sometimes out of duty, the words roll like autumn leaves blowing across a lawn. Some will catch on a noticeable shrub here, others will roll to a lichen covered bench there, but most often they’ll assemble in a tidy-ish pile for collection, and distribution.

OK, so I can openly say that I’ve started more posts than I finished, and deleted more words than I’ve ever published, but I now understand that to be a normal part of the process. All this time I’ve cursed myself for not having the ability to evolve into a writer, and not understanding that it’s really a skill that can be developed, honed and improved.

Looking ahead, I’m not saying that articles will suddenly flow thick and fast, because in many ways I’m still getting to grips with where I am and where I want the blog to go; combined with the fact that I’m really seeing this post as a new beginning. Equally, I know I have quite a job ahead to break from the structure of my previous articles, a posting style that I’ve desperately wanted to change for a long while. Overall, if it matters to you at all, I can at least assure that I shall be working on my writing in the days ahead, and in the process I hope, figuring out who I am, and what I want to say.

So there you have it, these words might have received some editing, but I’ve spoke openly and honestly about where I’ve been, and why. I’ve not rushed it, although I might have overthought it somewhat, and I’ve enjoyed the process more this time. Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to haunt me.

I’ll come back soon, for sure, but not so soon as to force an article. I’ll be aiming to produce something that comes from my new found creative and happy place; and I can’t wait to see where the words take us. Who knows, maybe one day from my happy place, a book or magazine article might pop out; we shall just have to see.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of the above, I really do appreciate your time and equally, I’d really appreciate your thoughts and comments. Do feel free to DM me on Instagram or Twitter if that’s easier, but I’d love to hear from you either way.

Kind regards, Gary

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