Why I use permaculture for everything

an ode to the principles and processes of nature as applied to teaching and organizing my writing career


Every now and then somebody asks me why I use permaculture ideas in all of my online courses, even the ones for writers.

It’s not immediately apparent how a design system for ecological landscapes is connected to a productive and prolific writing practice, so allow me to explain:

Permaculture is all about relationships, and so is your writing career…and relationships tend to work better when they work with nature, rather than against it.

What makes permaculture so powerful and effective as a landscape design strategy is the fact that the permaculture design process puts natural patterns at the center of the design. We learn to work with nature, rather than against it, and this makes everything SO MUCH EASIER. We direct water using gravity. We build soil using natural processes of decomposition and regeneration. We increase yields by improving connections between elements. And when something isn’t working, we look first for lessons in the mistakes, and then use what we learn to improve the overall system, not just that one small part.

This steady cultivation of the “designer’s mind” is absolutely an essential part of becoming a successful writer. Even if your definition of successful doesn’t include making money from your work — if you aren’t writing, you aren’t a successful writer. And permaculture ideas — this “designer’s mind” that we can nurture through permaculture practices — provide a plethora of prompts for your writerly pleasure.

In short: become obsessed with permaculture and you will never run out of writing ideas again. Learn to work with nature and those stories you were destined to write will come bursting out of you! (Plus you’ll find your perfect audience because your work will be authentic and meaningful.)

Further, the permaculture mindset not only provides fruitful fodder for your folder of ideas, it also helps you understand how to create time and space in your life for a dedicated daily practice.

I go into much greater detail about these ideas in my varied online courses, but I just wanted to give y’all a quick overview of why I return to permaculture, again and again, when I am developing curricula on any topic. I use it because it works!

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