Instructions, Not Inspiration?

While reading another gardening newsletter and the comments that followed, I came across a comment that basically was the title of my post–after a bit of introduction to the writer’s situation, he said he needed way more “instruction, not inspiration!”

As an English major (and I don’t say a “former” English major because there’s really no such thing) I was really quite taken aback.  One of the things I was taught–and one of the things that I used when teaching writing–is the saying that’s so old that by now it’s become a cliché: “Show, don’t tell.”  I think many of us tend to rely upon photos (and I know I do so far less than most–I’m not a “Pinterest” type) because they so quickly get the point across–or so we think.

In fact, I know I’ve remarked at least once here that if I can’t show it to my Mom, she has no ability to visualize it in her mind.  And that’s fine–not all of us are able to visualize things that way.  But I guess that’s why I was so taken aback by the gentleman who wanted step by step instructions in this day of YouTube, Facebook and the literally thousands of DIY sites out there.  He obviously was computer literate but I think he was confusing an “inspiration” type site with a more “hands on” DIY site.

Occasionally I’ve run across that bit of disconnect here.  I don’t often get it directly.  I’ll do a post about a plant–and I intend the post to be purely informational–a sort of, “here’s what the plant is, what it needs to grow, how big it gets, etc.”

Then, in my “most searched” box, I’ll notice that someone was looking for pruning information on that particular plant–or information on pests and diseases–or information on something else entirely and stumbled on my post.  Sometimes I’ll do a different post related to what the searcher was looking for if I think it might be warranted.  Other times I think, “Hmm.  Maybe I should have included that.”  But then the post would have been too long.

There’s generally a reason blog posts include what they do and a reason why they omit certain things.  We can’t be everything to everyone after all, sadly however much we would like to try.

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