The natural tendency of grape vines is to grow shoots and leaves rather than produce an abundant crop of grapes. Each year, in order to have an abundant crop, unproductive parts of the plant must be cut away.
Writers are like grape vines. Here’s how:
Thick leaves look luxurious, but that beautiful foliage can block sunlight from getting to where the grapes need to form.
Without pruning, the thick foliage will sprawl and look impressive, but the vines won’t produce many grapes. All the plant’s resources must be used to support the unproductive shoots and leaves. Vital nutrients needed to grow grapes will be used up.
You can grow lots of foliage or lots of grapes–but not both. Therein lies the problem: both for the vine grower AND FOR A WRITER.
We all have dreams and visions for certain projects or accomplishments. We plan, we dream, we tell others, we organize ourselves to do the work…but then something happens. Or many “somethings.”
Something’s got to give, we find ourselves muttering for weeks and then months. I just don’t have enough time and energy to do this, we finally admit to ourselves. I’ve been saying this about a pet writing project for nearly five years, I realized this spring. My life is filled with glossy, impressive, good foliage–but few grapes. And I’m taking steps to do something about it.
It’s NOT Just Time Management
Over the years, I’ve tried every time management system there is. I’ve done accountability groups, hired a writing coach once, and kept myself to a strict schedule (until emergencies threw me off). Each thing worked–for a while.
But before Easter I de-cluttered my kitchen and pantry, which had been hard to work in because there was just too much junk sitting around everywhere. Then I de-cluttered my office for the same reason. A de-cluttered writing space helped my mental state.
However, I realized that my schedule itself was toxic. I had added on too many things in the last year, NONE of which were my idea or passion. They’re all important jobs, but if I keep them all, I will never get to this writing project I dream of trying. I need to de-clutter my schedule.
What about mental de-cluttering? Since January 1, I have been using Caroline Leaf’s 21-Day detox program for de-cluttering my brain of negative thoughts and beliefs I need to eliminate. I want my brain to be used for something more productive.
De-clutter Before Committing
I got into these situations because I commit to new things without pruning out previous things. This works for a short time, but soon I find that time for exercise and time to sleep and time to fix healthy meals has been squeezed out. And I get sick.
But I want to start my writing project in a couple weeks, after my last school visit and trip. Between now and then, I plan to do some pruning so I can find room for my dream project. I want more grapes–and that’s going to mean less foliage.
How about you? Do you need to prune some activities, or time-wasting habits, or rotten mental attitudes so that you can find the time to live your dreams? Then I encourage you to start today!