“Writing is the art of discovery.”
The above quote belongs to Blogger/YouTuber, M.KIRIN (Twitter: https://twitter.com/mistrekirin, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCucoBxoMb6CaCdeIct5W8uQ). I feel that with this quote, they capture the true nature of writing in a way that very few people have been able to (to my knowledge at least). Many people will try to tell you that writing is either done one way or another, and that there is only one proper way of approaching it. This, of course, is absolute bullshit.
As you can tell from the title, I will be discussing “architects” and “gardeners”, but before I continue, I should probably explain exactly what an “architect” or “gardener” is. Many people will recognise these as the “writer-type dichotomy” where every writer is either one or the other. The distinction between the two goes as follows:
Architect: A writer who plans, plots and details every little aspect of a story from start to finish; covering any and all details before they even start writing.
Gardener: A writer who plants the idea of a story in their head and then waters it with their blood and sweat as they write to eventually see what it comes out as.
Now you might already be thinking, “Oh yeah! That totally sounds like me!” but let me just stop you right there. The problem I have with this dichotomy is that it is, in fact, a dichotomy. It tries to paint the world in starkly contrasting black and white, while missing all the beautiful (50) shades of grey in between. I’m not saying that you can’t call yourself an “architect” or a “gardener”. Call yourself whatever you want, but keep in mind that there are three major problems that arise when you try to force yourself into a specific category, namely:
- Confusion: I jumped from one type to the other fairly regularly, because I always found myself doing certain things as one type and doing other things as the other type (e.g. I would world-build like an “architect” and write mostly like a “gardener”). I often found myself using techniques from both styles for the same thing. The confusion came in when I tried to fit myself into one of the brackets. It just didn’t work.
- Elitism: Of course, as it so happens, we are “normal” human beings. When you split us up into two different teams, you’re basically creating an “us vs. them” mentality. Writers on the one side will insist that their method is better than the method of the other side. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, the problem comes in when popular writing blog/vloggers with a lot of influence tell new writers how to do things. I’ve personally seen a popular vlog/blogger tell people that they have to write their first draft a certain way or it will This can be immensely damaging to a new writer looking to find what works for them so that they can grow as an artist.
- Limitations: By forcing yourself into a specific type-bracket, you are immediately limiting yourself in terms of how you can write what you want to write. Not only will you not be playing to your strengths in certain aspects (for which your art will certainly suffer), but you will also be wasting your precious time and energy on methods that don’t work for you.
So with all of that being said, I would like to remind all of my readers out there that all advice should be taken with a grain of salt (yes, even mine). In the same breath, I would like to remind my fellow blog/vloggers out there to watch what they say to their audience.
You should not forget that there is no single correct way of doing things. We are all people of diverse backgrounds and styles. Embrace the diversity and use it to improve your own art. Find what works for you and stick with it.