Readers know that when the trees turn green, so do my thumbs! I welcome the chance to sow my garden beds with tiny seeds, provide water, fertilizer, and sunlight, and wait for them to grow. Just so, I scatter my ideas into the virtual universe and pray for seedlings to emerge.

Today, lettuce winks at me while the spinach plants race to claim their place in the new raised beds. In the older, in-ground beds, potatoes and peas are rising on small but sturdy stems. In my desktop bed, I’ve spent time adding compost to my own emerging stories and poems. Some are more reluctant than others to emerge into the daylight.

So, where do ideas come from? Mine hide among the columns of the newspaper, linger in overheard conversations and family gossip. Sometimes they emerge from dreams, knocking against my brain at the most inopportune times. I have proof…a myriad of paper scraps with titles, characters, themes, or snatches of good dialogue.

These I transfer as soon as possible to my file titled Story Ideas. There they settle in until my brain warms enough to let them grow. Not all offer themselves openly. Sometimes, I have to coax them into existence, showering each reluctant plot or theme with the waters of my imagination. Often, I need to allow them breathing room, to incubate longer in the fertile dirt of creativity. Because writing, like gardening, means you have to get your hands dirty. You have to kneel before the awesome power of life — be it plants or stories — pay homage to the ground from which each seed grows, and sow each one deep enough to thrive.

Happy Planting, writers! I join you in the garden.