Pulling Weeds and Planting Flowers

Writers are good at pulling up weeds, but they sometimes forget to keep going and plant flowers in the dirt. After you pull weeds, don’t forget to plant flowers.

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
  • procrastination
  • 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!

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8 Responses to Pulling Weeds and Planting Flowers

  1. Not only novels, but non-fiction, too! Thanks for the encouragement, Kristi!

    • kwpadmin says:

      That’s true, Jane, very true. I guess I just hear this more often from people who dream of writing fiction for a career. But it certainly applies to both!

  2. Anna Angela says:

    Very encouraging! I never thought of it this way. Thank you!

    • kwpadmin says:

      Actually, Anna, I never did either until I saw how much I did this myself! I need to cut down on the time taken to “get ready to write” and just write! :-)

  3. Bonnie says:

    Yikes. I do this. If I don’t have a firm deadline (not of my own making), I seem to always be getting ready to write. And I don’t always even do a great job of getting ready. Time for a change. Thanks for the eye-opening.

  4. Linda McMann says:

    OMG – does this ever resonate with me! I’m printing this off and posting it on my bulletin board. I need the reminder of how to plant flowers. Thank you.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Don’t feel bad, Linda. I have to remind myself of this all the time! It’s easy to get busy with writing-related activity and forget to WRITE! :-)

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