Grow Write Guild #4: Inspiration and Influence


The Oxford dictionary defines a mentor as, “an experienced and trusted adviser” and a muse as “…the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

Many gardeners have someone in their life, be it a family member, close friend, colleague, or a public figure to whom they have looked for gardening guidance, knowledge, inspiration, and/or influence. They make you think differently about your garden. They inspire you to try harder and do better. They teach by example. Their work has influenced some of the choices you’ve made in your garden over the years.

Grow Write Guild Prompt #4: Write about your garden mentor or muse.

A mentor or muse could be your neighbour, a parent or close relative, or a good friend. They can be someone who encouraged you directly, but they can also be someone that you do not know personally at all! She or he can be a television presenter, a book author, a newspaper columnist, an artist, a musician, or your dentist for that matter. They don’t even have to be a gardener. They could be a fictional character in a book or a real person that has been dead for a hundred years. Inspiration can come from a variety of sources.

Use the following questions and strategies to help spark different approaches to this prompt. Feel free to ignore this if you don’t need it.

    Further Notes & Questions:

  • Try writing this as a letter to your mentor or muse.
  • You could also try writing the story of how you met your mentor/muse or how you came upon their work.
  • How has their work/garden/art/etc influenced why or how you garden?
  • Note that a mentor does not have to be someone who influenced you early on. They can be someone whose work sparked a shift in the way you garden or inspired you to try new plants and new ideas.
  • Feel free to write about multiple sources of inspiration and influence if there is more than one. You can also try turning this into a classic dinner party scenario along the lines of “If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would you invite?”
  • Perhaps your muse is not a person at all. It could be your pet rabbit,a painting, or a piece of music.

The Grow Write Guild is a creative writing club for people who love to garden. Everyone is welcome to participate! Click over to the Grow Write Guild FAQ to learn more about it.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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31 thoughts on “Grow Write Guild #4: Inspiration and Influence

  1. How many of us will want to write about you Gayla? You definitely fit the definition for me, especially for looking at things differently.

  2. Thanks for this prompt, Gayla. It brought back some lovely memories as I cast about looking for the answer, and I still ended up writing something completely different from what was in mind when I finally sat down to write. My answer here.

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