Day 14 – Slice of Life Challenge – overlapping processes

I am still reviewing my old red notebook. It has notes that are for my garden blog. The focus of the notebook is science and plants so it was interesting as I read this morning a few pages of notes that sounded like I was writing about the how to’s of writing.

The first pages made sense since they were titled creating stories from the garden – for this post I added the words writer/naturalist to see what would happen – to see if they overlap?

The first note was TIME –

The reflection talked about how building a story takes time. A writer/naturalists needs to be patient – to keep working, writing, and doing but always watching for the story to emerge. It could be a story you are writing (fiction) or it could be the story of the environment you are learning about. What is the story of a plant or a forest or city? It takes time to find a story, to understand the story that is hidden whether is is fiction or real life?

Then a note about PLACE – DSC01572.jpg

As a writer/naturalists you need to know a place so well that the story of that location comes walking right out of the trees, leaves, buildings and people who are part of this space. You need to see and feel the location to make it real.

Which led me to SEEING – Observation

As a writer/naturalists your work is about looking closely. It is about opening up all your senses to understand or create. Asking simple questions to gather information –

  • what do I see
  • what to I hear
  • what is the smell
  • what do I feel

DSC01515.jpgMoving through the pages of my notebook I reach the word –


This leads the writer/naturalists to state how things are the same and how they are different. They are using the observations to begin thinking about patterns that help us understand our work or story.

INFERENCE pop into my notes next –

We begin to make conclusions that are reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning. For the naturalist this might be conclusions about why a plant is not growing or why a plant is spreading quickly across the forest floor. For a writer inferences help us move the story forward – based on what we have written what happens next. This helps writers build the story line and conversation of our characters.

The steps we take to learn about the world around us seem to overlap with the steps we take as writers to develop our stories. We are alwaysDSC01530.jpg

  • observing
  • comparing
  • understanding the place
  • making inferences to further understand

And it is always time that we struggle with – the ability to just slow down and allow the story to emerge.






About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in nature, Reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Day 14 – Slice of Life Challenge – overlapping processes

  1. Tara Smith says:

    I loved following this thinking about writing process…something to try out myself, and then with my students.

  2. arjeha says:

    In this day of hurry up and wait and instant gratification, time is the one essential we don’t always give ourselves.Good things are worth waiting for be it blooming flowers or emerging stories.

  3. blkdrama says:

    Ahhh yes, so great to have process written and thought about… We learn so much from our process and others…

  4. Alice Nine says:

    Thank you for these thoughts. I am reminded that these “how to” skills you write of … that we teach to students during writing … are powerful skills needed in all areas of life. Writing is so much more than the “written page” produced.

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