Weeding The Words Of Summer’s Flower Garden

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…

25 thoughts on “Weeding The Words Of Summer’s Flower Garden

  1. Suzi, and I’m glad you’re passing along what you’ve learned along the way.

    Thank you, and I love your analogy!

    I agree with everything you’ve shared within this post, but this is one thing that really stuck out for me…

    ” 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.”

    Amen! One of my favorite screen/play writers was Neil Simon. I loved his scripts because he chose every single word carefully, and never wasted a single one; each one had a purpose. He could write using the most minimal about of words, yet say so much.

    That to me, is talent!

    Have a great Thursday, my friend!


  2. beautiful imagery, sage advice about the writing craft! No disclaimer needed. One need not be an expert – is an expert someone who things they contain all learning? – one need only learn and grow and share and that you do and so beautifully too.

  3. I love lessons from nature being parallel to life, and in this case so nicely related to writing. Excellent! I find with writing, if I may add to your metaphor here, that composting is part of my process too. I often need to turn an idea over and over a while, letting different points smolder and/or brought to the light and the surface.

    • Exactly! I start lots of posts and let them sit for months, adding and deleting bits and sometimes it ends up into something totally unrelated to how it started. I often find the main idea is ot at all what I first thought…writing process like life is quite interesting.

  4. I noticed in my earlier blog days, I wrote MUCH better. Then, the pro photography quest took hold and my writing got worse, but photos got better. I am hoping one day to get both up to speed! This post is very helpful!

    • I suppose the importance lay on which venue you pursue. The analogy for writing really only applies if someone wants to do it for the long term and is investing in it. I can see why you have taken off with photography…you have INCREDIBLE talent; your photos are AMAZING!

  5. I do not teach English, but this is what I see …. bulletin boards or better yet … each student creating their own very tall plant poster. Starting at the roots with their idea following your analogy (the revisions of their work displayed at each stage) until they get to the final draft and a beautiful flower.

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