Nurturing Your Writing Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links June 26

The house may need new shingles and paint, but at least we have some cheerful flowers to brighten the door.

The house may need new shingles and paint, but at least we have some cheerful flowers to brighten the door.

Last week, Deborah published Weeding and Words, a lovely  post in which she used weeding her garden as an apt analogy for editing her writing. Like Deborah, I have been spending some time tending to domesticated flora, and – though I am much less ambitious than she when it comes to gardening – I am very much enjoying the experience. This being my and my daughter’s first spring/summer in our new home, we are starting small – some hanging baskets for the front door, a tiny vegetable garden in the yard, and a modest planter of annuals on the back stoop.

This little, raised-bed garden was my daughter's idea, but it's kind of growing on me. (Pun intended!)

This little, raised-bed garden was my daughter’s idea, but it’s kind of growing on me. (Pun intended!)

It occurred to me as I was lugging the watering can from baskets to garden to planter, all the while ruminating on Deborah’s weeds and words post, that the gardening analogy applies as much to the writing life as it does to the writing itself.

If you want your writing life to thrive, you must tend and nurture your writing practice with care and intention. You cannot simply throw a few seeds in the proverbial dirt and hope for the best. You must create the right environment in which your writing can grow. You have to establish a regular practice of weeding and watering, and make sure your tiny seedlings get enough sunlight and warmth. You might even need to talk to them kindly to encourage them to grow.

Though they will only last the season, I can't resist buying a few beautiful annuals.

Though they will only last the season, I can’t resist buying a few beautiful annuals.

At the same time that you are working hard to cultivate your writing, you must – as Deborah said – do some weeding. In the case of the writing life, you must weed away any distractions and negative influences: your inner critic, fears, indecision, perfectionism, and anything else that threatens to strangle and choke your writing. Take a page from the weed’s playbook and practice focus and resilience. Beat the weeds at their own game.

Above all, have patience. You may have grand plans and ideas, but every garden takes time to grow. It takes time not only to find and place the right plants, but also for those plants to take root and begin to flourish and bear flower and fruit. Try to temper your expectations so you aren’t too hard on yourself. Remember that the mighty oak grows from a tiny acorn, but the journey from acorn to towering oak is a long one without any shortcuts.

_jamie sig


Books I’m Reading:

book harounReading time has been scarce this week because my client project workload has been keeping me extra busy. The only ways I’ve been able to fit in any reading at all are a) reading to my daughter at bedtime, and b) listening to an audio book while I drive and do chores.

The bedtime story I’m reading my daughter is the first in Salman Rushdie’s two-part series featuring the Khalifa family of storytellers and adventurers. My daughter and I just finished the second book –  Luka and the Fire of Life – and now we’re going back to read Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Both of these books have been re-reads for me, but I’m enjoying them at least as much as I did the first time around. (Truth is, I don’t really “know” a book until I’ve read it multiple times.)

In addition to Rushdie’s wonderful characters, whimsical writing, and mastery of language, I love these books because they are about the power of stories. They are about the way stories feed our souls and help us build and interpret the world around us. Though he may have written them with children in mind, there are many excellent lessons for readers of any age, all delivered with a satisfying serving of entertainment and delight.

··• )o( •··

My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:

CRAFT

PUBLISHING & MARKETING

INSPIRATION

THE WRITING LIFE

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin be soft

Here’s to growing where you’re planted, nourishing your writer’s life with care and intention, and always believing that the world is a beautiful place.

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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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13 thoughts on “Nurturing Your Writing Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links June 26

  1. Funny, but I just realized I was reading your post as the weekly Sunday morning gardening show plays on the radio — very much in the background, as I am more interested in tips on writing than I am in the fungi and watering issues for which the current caller is seeking answers. Your post both hits my brain and touches my heart. The parallels between gardening and writing are perfect — somehow both comforting and challenging, encouraging me both to be patient with myself and to push myself to grow. Happy Sunday morning!

    • Hello, Sara.
      I love when information from disparate sources comes together like that. It always feels like a special delivery. 🙂 I love how the gardening metaphor makes you feel both comforted and challenged. That sounds like a perfect balance of influences.

      Thanks for being here!

  2. Pingback: Nurturing Your Writing Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links June 26 — Live to Write – Write to Live – Think Out Loud by Aida

  3. I was in need of the Kurt Vonnegut reminder, and also smiled at the need to talk to the seedlings kindly to encourage to grow 🙂 It’s a fraught moment here in the EU and it was getting the best of me…

    • Though I do not live in the EU, I was feeling the tension and heartbreak over here in the states. I have many friends who either live in Britain or are expats, and the depth of their emotions was great.

      I’m glad you liked the Vonnegut quote. It was a reminder I needed, too. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Nurturing Your Writing Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links June 26 — Live to Write – Write to Live | Driver's Authentic Articles

  5. Ah, Jamie, that Vonnegut quote does it for me every time! It could be easy to become hard if we allow it. The world seems a violent and divided place in many ways, although not up close. Not up close! Maybe that’s the antidote to fear and division – get up close. Sorry Jamie, I’ve gotten off track! I do love a gardening metaphor, and your little gardens are divine, very summery. My own gardens have their metaphorical heads down, sheltering from the winter winds and frost! It’s fireside dwelling at the moment, and no early morning writing over in my cold cottage!

    • Hello, Sara! 🙂
      “Get up close” sounds like great advice to me. It’s easy to demonize and discriminate from a distance, but when we get up close, it’s a whole different story, isn’t it? Because we can actually see the whole story, and then it’s harder to draw lines and put people and ideas in boxes.

      I hope your gardens are tucked in and dreaming their way to next spring!

  6. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:
    “If you want your writing life to thrive, you must tend and nurture your writing practice with care and intention. You cannot simply throw a few seeds in the proverbial dirt and hope for the best. You must create the right environment in which your writing can grow. You have to establish a regular practice of weeding and watering, and make sure your tiny seedlings get enough sunlight and warmth. You might even need to talk to them kindly to encourage them to grow.”

  7. I talk to my seedlings a little less than my characters, but I think both respond to it. I know my kale certainly does! I tend to talk to my characters, maybe mutter is a better word choice, and I’m always a little surprised when they reply. Weeding my garden is easy, until I see the mouse, weeding my writing…not so easy. All things considered, I agree with you, hands on is best for both gardens and writing.
    Mice need not attend either.

  8. I love that quote from Kurt! I need to copy it and keep it where I can see it every day. I totally get this analogy and heard it before as it relates to dreams. I heard of a plant that takes years to bloom but once it breaks ground it sprouts up in days. And so they asked how long does it take to grow, days or years? After hearing the story years comes to mind because you have to water it everyday and make sure it gets sun and plant food and all that. So I totally like that visual, and comparing editing to pulling weeds … dude totally.

    I’ve also heard the exercise/athlete analogy with writing … or maybe I just thought that up. Don’t remember. How you have to exercise and train everyday in order to prepare for your event, race, or health goal. Like an Olympian. They train everyday and work hard even when it’s not easy and even when their dream is four years away. You have to have discipline … just like writing. Got to wake in the morning (or stay up late at night) and put in the time. Eventually all that heart and hard work will pay off. If you keep at it.

    Gardening and pulling weeds. Exercising like an Olympian. These analogies totally help me out. Great reminders!

    • I love the idea of a plant that takes years to bloom! That sounds like a story all in itself. Lovely … knowing that even though it may appear to grow instantly out of nowhere, it has – in fact – been working hard for an entire year to get to the point at which it is ready to burst above ground. That is very much like writing, indeed.

      Thanks for that! 🙂

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