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When I’m mulling over my writing, my garden always provides inspiration (story-wise and writer-life-wise). With several stories in different phases, I tend to take time outside to sort things out.

Lately, my garden inspiration comes from my camellias. Three plants, all different species.

Over the last few months, I’ve watched the tiny buds forming. Little by little, bits of color show through: pink and red. Waiting to see the first blooms brings back memories of my childhood. Our home had a long row of camellias planted on the north side of the house. Varieties of pink, white, and red that eventually cross-bred producing petals reminiscent of red and white candy canes.

A few days ago, the bushes finally bloomed.

The largest plant is on the west side of the house. Most of the day it’s in the shade with a small amount of direct afternoon sun. It produced only one bud which led to one beautiful, pink flower.

Camillia 3

The other two plants in the same flower bed are in the shade on the north end of the house. They get little direct sun, but lots of daylight. One of them is prolific with a ton of buds with small red blooms with bright yellow stamens. The other has a lot of buds, with only one bloom.

Camillia 2 Camillia 1

Standing there admiring the flowers I realized how these three plants remind me of my writing journey. I see what other writers are producing and then look at my own list, which is small in comparison.

I know each writer is different. I try not to compare; but, it’s not always easy. Some of us write fast. Some slow. Some put out a half-dozen books a year. Some of us two. Or, some of us one book every two years.

While admiring the camellias, it reminded me of how each plant does its own thing. They don’t look to how each is producing; they just grow and bloom each year—one flower or a multitude.

And, that’s when it hit me. I’m not supposed to worry about what other writers are producing. I’m not supposed to look at their list and compare it to mine. We are all different and that’s okay. If I just keep my focus on my stories, they will bloom when it’s time. Maybe one a year, maybe more. But whatever I do, I need to be proud of what I produce, because, like the camellias buds, each story takes time to form before it can burst forth.

If you’re struggling with comparison, look at it from another perspective. Maybe even from the camellia’s perspective. Because after all, camellias don’t compare.