George R. R. Martin once said,
“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
After I read George R. R. Martin’s words, I started thinking about what type of writer I am, an architect or a gardener? The answer is…I like to think I’m a gardener, but I’m really an architect at heart. Ideas come to me and I attempt to be patient and watch them grow, but I thrive much more when I plan things out. It was surprising to find out that GRRM considers himself a gardener because his books are incredibly complex, and I would think they require a lot of planning. Although, I know we all have our own methods and we do whatever works best for us. Because I write a lot of fantasy, I usually have tons of pictures, maps, outlines, family trees, etc. around me while I write. It’s one of the things I love most about my process.
So I ask all of my writer/creative friends, are you an architect or a gardener?