Everyone loves a summer garden. The sweet aroma of lavender drifts through the air. Sunny faces of Gerber daisy turn heads of all who walk by. Black-eyed Susans and coneflowers feed the birds and bees. Butterflies and hummingbirds flock to lantana, salvia, and beebalm. The garden is a place of action and beauty; buzzing and fluttering wings among a rainbow of blooms.
If you want your writing to come to life with color and flair, tend your words as you would a flower garden. In the early stages of writing every word is a potential flower. You must learn to recognize a weed when you see it. Study your craft. You must know more than basic skills. You must develop style.
Start with a seed/idea. Give it time to germinate. Though you will come up with much useless material to the project at hand, free writing is a great jump start. Volunteers (hopefuls) often show up in a garden. Sometimes they fit in and other times they need to be transplanted. You can salvage the ideas not essential to the piece you’re working on and file them away for later projects. Find the point in your piece and work around it. Make it bloom.
Water is the gift of life as is word choice. Choose your words as wisely as your plants. Your content will determine the potential size of your audience. The difference between an ordinary noun preceded by an adjective and a concrete noun is the difference between life and death. Which of these two sentences draw you in? The jeweled lady walked in the barely lit night. The gypsy danced beneath a veil of moonlight. You have the ability to make your writing as powerful and appealing as you want.
Weed…flowers need room to grow. The art of writing in any venue is in the gleaning of the words. More is not always better. Get rid of the unnecessary words by sticking to those needed to deliver your message. Don’t waste words saying the same thing several different ways. Superfluous words reduce your intent and your message will get lost in the jumble. Avoid clichés…they’re like poison ivy in the garden; unwanted and annoying. If you’re not sure if you’ve spotted a weed, give it time. It’s much easier to separate weeds and flowers with a fresh perspective.
Fertilize…strengthen your writing by appealing to the senses. Descriptive writing is a blossoming flower. Use emotion to invite your readers to lose themselves in your words. Let your readers feel your heartache and joy, taste hope in the rain, smell the cedar in your hiker’s hair, hear the whistle of the wind through the pines, see the arc of a mockingbird’s wings as it lifts into the air…take your audience into the story with you.
Flowers need sunlight to grow as words need an audience. Flowers are planted in locations that deliver the amount of sunshine necessary for growth. Target your audience. Write for them. Focus on what your readers expect from you. Do they expect to be entertained or enlightened? Submit your work to venues designed for your genre.
The unfolding of your voice like a daylily; bold, bright, and beautiful. Let your words be a glimpse of sunshine on the page.
****Disclaimer: I’m not claiming to be an expert writer, but as any writer should I’m just passing along a little of what I’ve learned along the way. (This was written for another venue, but I thought I’d share it here as well.) Like everyone else, I am learning every day…