Many writers in December and January talked about their goals for the new year. Many are working hard to break habits that keep them from their writing dreams. It’s why you pull weeds–they can choke out your flowers. Bad habits can choke your writing dreams.
Here are a few weeds that writers should pull:
- mindless Internet surfing
- writer’s block
- saying yes when you should say no
But is that all you need to do? NO.
Don’t Forget to Plant
I have a neighbor who keeps weeds pulled and has a lovely, clean, raked, raised bed of black dirt. Any time a weed appears, it’s yanked up. The dirt even gets fertilized. Lots of preparation is done. Unfortunately, there never comes a time when flowers are planted.
Writers do the same thing. They pull weeds. (e.g. conquer writer’s block, set up a writing schedule) Then they fertilize. One such writer, who dreams of becoming a novelist, writes every day. She journals first thing in the morning, and the words flow as she processes her day and makes plans. She posts faithfully on her blog two or three times per week, writing several thousand words each week. She belongs to an accountability group and checks in faithfully.
She blogs about writing issues while dreaming of selling that first novel, or novel series, to a traditional publisher. She has overcome her writer’s issues (“pulled the weeds”) and puts in daily writing time, telling herself that it’s just a matter of time. Week after week, and month after month, she writes, dreaming of that day in the future when she’ll have her first novel published. But it never happens.
And at this rate, it never will. Why?
Because she isn’t planting any flowers. She’ll never have anything but a lovely looking plot of black dirt.
How Writers Plant Flowers
If you dream of publishing a novel, then you have to do correct planting. Your seeds and seedlings might include:
- studying characterization and dialogue
- writing descriptive passages
- practicing figures of speech
- taking an online class on plotting
- studying market guides
Those seeds planted and watered will one day produce a crop.
It All Works Together
Yes, you have to get rid of bad writing habits (“pull weeds”), and you need to establish a routine and accountability (“fertilize”). But if you don’t study your craft and write fiction (“plant flowers”), you won’t realize your dream of publishing a novel.
Don’t stop part-way into the process and fool yourself that you’re doing the necessary work. If you have a decent plot of dirt ready, then move on. Plant those flowers!