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Garden Writing for Everyone, with Margaret Roach

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It’s a close call: Have I pulled more weeds, or written more words?

This 90-minute online webinar class is open to any and all who occasionally find themselves speechless at what they experience in the garden and nature, but wish to put it into words.

Gardening, and writing, are the two inextricably interwoven practices that have shaped my life for decades. I cannot imagine being without either; each is far more than a mere career component. I heartily recommend digging into both—even if simply for your own sanity and joy in a private journal, rather than for publication.**

I’ll encourage you to give voice to what comes up when you head outside into your own backyard and beyond, into the greater natural realm.

All are welcome; no prior writing experience required. Prerequisite: a sense of awe about the garden and the wider outdoor world.

In one session with Q&A time at the end, we’ll cover:

  • Where garden writing can take you: My journey from garden journal and basic how-to articles, to essay and opinion-page pieces, to book-length, nature-infused memoir. "Garden writing" also inspired me to become something of a naturalist, which has greatly enriched my life.
  • What to read: The other gardeners’ and naturalists’ voices who inspired my planting and prose: a booklist of inspirational reading to get you writing (or to savor just for pleasure).
  • When to tune in to the bigger picture: I advocate that anyone writing about gardening learn their way around a field guide and the best natural-science reference resources online.
  • Why you can’t be too curious: The best garden and nature writers share one key trait: insatiability. I’ll offer examples that show you how even the smallest details outdoors become catalysts for great writing.
  • Who is your cast of characters? Do you garden with a spouse, or just talk to the birds (like I do)? There are various approaches to harnessing other voices in the garden.
  • How starting a garden blog can offer a jumpstart and needed structure to a writing practice if used wisely (but if expectations are not managed it can drive you mad).

Why offer this class?

**Mostly, I share inspiration and information about how to garden—not about how to write. My sister, Marion Roach Smith, is likewise a writer (as were our parents), and for 20 years she has been teaching and coaching memoir writers. Lately, at in-person classes and webinars, many students are asking for a class that addresses first-person writing deriving its inspiration from the garden and nature. Our plan is to teach that together, but it got me thinking: I should do a more introductory class first.

If you're interested in taking it further, later this year a more in-depth class specifically aimed at those wishing to sharpen their garden- and nature-themed memoir-writing skills will be offered, in collaboration and co-taught with Marion of The Memoir Project.

About Margaret Roach

For nearly 30 years, Margaret Roach has shared her love of gardens and nature in writing, on radio, and in person, by lecturing widely and teaching. She was a copy editor at "The New York Times," where she also wrote a column about women’s sports (!!!). She was fashion editor and then garden editor at "Newsday;" the first garden editor at "Martha Stewart Living," and then EVP/Editorial Director of Martha’s company, in charge of content for internet, magazines, and books. She is the author of several books, and since 2008 has created A Way to Garden dot com, with a companion podcast. Her garden writing has also been also published in "The New York Times," “Country Gardens,” “Organic Gardening,” “More,” and elsewhere.

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