Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Violet Writing

I'm learning to accept that I have so much going on all the time, I'm not going to stay ahead of everything. That's a personal choice, even if I don't carefully or consciously decide to keep things hopping. I'm lucky to live according to my own schedule--and some of the things I've put in that schedule have a lot more flexibility than others. This blog, for instance. Consequently, I'm not exactly steady about posting. But here are some more thoughts about writing.

During these hot summer days, I've been watering and weeding actual plants, not just everything growing in my imagination. And I can't help noticing how many analogies gardening has to give about writing. Yes, I know, it's a big cliche to compare writing and gardening. But bear with me; I promise not to be too terribly hackneyed.

When we moved to this house, the only things growing here were tumbleweeds. Some of them, known as "goat's heads," would grow into nightmarish tangles of very sharp thorns that easily worked their way into any skin they happened to touch. Then they'd break loose from their stalks and go bounding around on the wind, planting themselves far and wide. When sprouting, they looked kind of pretty--bright green, perky, fast-growing. But even when small, they had a sting.

I've learned to pull them up the instant they push their way out of the ground.

What does that have to do with writing? Well, I could get eloquent about caring for your imagination, giving it the equivalent of good soil, water, and sunshine. I won't go there, at least not today. But you see where I'm going, right? Part of taking care of flowering plants is making sure the goat's heads don't choke them out. And part of being able to write day after day is pulling up the doubts and fears that can become so thorny if allowed to grow big.

I'm thrilled to say that my fairy tale, Violet Wings, is now out in paperback. And I want you to know that to get Zaria's story written, I had to pull up more than a few inner goat's heads. So if you're struggling with your own version of thorny tumbleweeds blowing through your mind, all I can say is: Keep digging.