The Demands of Writing – and Looking back!

One can create one’s own pressures in life; it’s in the mind! Even such a light and trivial matter as an occasional blog brings certain demands with it – though the demands are all from myself, I should say immediately. As I write regularly, I also feel the need/demand to write regularly though I generally resist any such demand and wait until I have something I wish to write.

My writing is something quite spontaneous. A thought may come to me as I am gardening, something interesting in the garden, or it may be something I read or see online or on television and this starts me off on a train of thought and leads to a blog. I am not one for writing, rewriting, editing and endlessly crafting my blog entries. Generally, I sit at the laptop, log onto this blog site and simply write away. I enjoy the writing, the act of writing, of saying something, of expressing myself, of talking to somebody.

This past fortnight I have had to write in a different manner. I was contacted to write an article on Irish snowdrops for a very well-regarded publication. It was a topic on which I have written previously and I am very familiar with the subject matter. The suggested format was a very simple one: pick the great and the good of Irish snowdrops, those reasonably readily available, good garden plants and write a note on each to a total of 1,000 approximately. It ran to 1,300 and has been returned to me, edited, with only the very slightest of changes so, obviously, suited the needs of the editor.

Above: A late evening walk around the garden.

However, I found this a very different writing experience. I have written for gardening society newsletters and gardening magazines previously and these were generally in the soft and easy style of my blogs but I felt this was something different. This was for a publication with a high horticultural reputation and standing and I felt a certain pressure to write well, to do a good job, to present Irish snowdrops in a good light – in a British journal – and it brought a certain tension to the work. Microsoft Word allows one to look back on how many times a document has been opened, reviewed, edited etc. There were 27 revisions on that article whereas this blog will be written and reread once to check for errors and then immediately published.

In the heel of the hunt, the snowdrop article wasn’t any different to several similar articles I had written previously but the keyboard has been splattered by my perspiration and my blood. How foolish of me!

Now, to look back for a moment on life in general. We have completed eleven weeks in our “cocoon”. We haven’t been away from home once in that time. We have not had visitors and have not seen family since early March. Skype/Facetime/telephone have allow regular contact with family members which has been wonderful but watching your youngest granddaughter begin to crawl for the first time or your grandson showing his latest Thomas the Tank Engine train, or granddaughters opening the presents sent via Amazon on Skype is not quite the same as being with them in person and I miss this very much.

Above: A selection of plant photographs from this last week.

On the home front, we have been very fortunate that the weather has been excellent, with beautifully warm and sunny days, and we have been able to spend each day in the garden, morning to evening, and have enjoyed this very much. Our local supermarket continues with its regular deliveries and I collected elderflowers this afternoon from a neighbouring field so we are now making elderflower cordial. Next week’s grocery order will include a bottle of gin! Life is not bad at all.

The photographs were all taken during this past week – some views, some flowers – and I hope you enjoy them. Feel very free to add a comment and I hope you are all well, staying safe and healthy. Best wishes, Paddy

Above: Butterflies.

10 thoughts on “The Demands of Writing – and Looking back!

    1. Oh, “commission” sounds too grand and, almost, implies there might be a payment involved. No such luck! LOL It is a non-profit set-up so no payment involved.

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  1. Thank you Paddy and Mary for all your hard work and giving us glimpses of your wonderful garden. It’s not quite as good as a visit but the next best thing and keeps us all in touch during this terrible time. Mary, Cork

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    1. Hi Mary, Lovely to hear from you. Aren’t we so fortunate to have our gardens these days, Mary. They are a great pastime and keep us very pleasantly occupied. Such hot weather! We stopped by three this afternoon and took it easy for the rest of the day.

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  2. Paddy, it is much appreciated all the time and energy you put into your gardening and writings as it brightens my days and adds to my gardening knowledge. As no house sales my beautiful garden is still mine to work in and enjoy and this is the second summer my pots and plant treasures need consent watering and only now have I found a solution. Buy cheap buckets, get empty plastic containers anything that holds water and they keep the potted plant watered and cooler for longer. What you both love is all around you and it was worked hard for, take a bow Mary too.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Mary. It’s a nuisance on you having everything held up by the constraints in place due to Covid 19. Hopefully, this will pass soon and allow you get on with arrangements. I can understand your bother with pots and keeping plants watered. It has been especially hot and dry for the past while and gardening has been tiring these last few days. We have a little rain forecast for tonight but I don’t think it will be enough to make a significant contribution to the garden at all. We will have to wait in hope! Mary says, “Hello”.

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