Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am a passionate gardener, so my response to today’s Writing 101 prompt about what I do when not writing is easy.
The majority of my time is spent at a PC in my office at the University where I am an administrator so in fact I spend the majority of my time writing something or other at home or at work.
Gardening is my mechanism for de-stressing. It allows me time to clear my mind either through day dreaming about wild and mad schemes for the garden or in complete contrast focussing on something small and precise such as peering into a pot of compost convincing myself that that small green dot is in fact the sign that a seed is germinating. At times of extreme stress I find that just 20 minutes pottering around the garden dead heading and watering calms and soothes and then I can come back to whatever it is that is troubling me with a clearer mind.
In recent years much as been made of how good gardening is for your health. It is something that is beginning to be recognised as useful in the recovering of people who have experienced severe trauma. But of course gardening is good for our physical well-being as well as our mental. It is a good form of gentle exercise, gets you out in the fresh air and keeps you active. It will never be a form of burning off lots of excess calories, well not unless you regularly dig over something like an allotment, but it keeps everything moving. I am reminded that when I was visiting gardens in Ireland earlier this year we met a number of older gardeners, one who was 87 and had a huge garden, and each of them believed whole heartedly that it was their gardening passion which had contributed to their longevity.
But I am drifting off topic. The specific question asked what I do to recharge, rebalance and clear my mind for writing. Whilst gardening is key to this and so much else that is important to me I also embroider and read. Reading means I encounter ideas that might inspire me and I experience writing styles which may influence my own writing. Both gardening and sewing give me material for writing but they also give me the space between work and leisure time so my mind can readjust and find the voice I want for whatever I am writing. So for me it is important to have a good balance in your life if you want to be able to write.