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.
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.
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.
Books I’m Reading:
Reading 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:
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
THE WRITING LIFE
- The Dangers of Being Too Hard On Yourself by @Psych_Writer
- How to Create a Blogging Will (and Why You Should) [podcast] by @problogger
- Why We Write: The Third Thing by @TrueFactBarFact
Finally, a quote for the week:
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.
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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.