Saturday, October 20, 2007

Be Planted and Bloom

This week I've been going through the ups and downs of the writing life. It's typical for most of us, but when the downs hit, sometimes they hit really hard. Confidence seems to be stretched somewhere in the distance, just out of reach. And we feel as if we're grasping through the darkness, or rather fear--fear that what we've written may not be good enough.

When I begin a new manuscript, I'm filled with excited anticipation, hope for a new project with a fresh beginning, a clean slate. It's toward the end of that project that I begin to wonder if I've managed to create something that meets all my hopes and dreams. Will my creation meet the expectations of the gate keepers to the published market--the editors? If so, will it draw readers by the dozens or selected handfuls? Will it pass with good reviews or glowing reviews? Most importantly, did I allow God to guide me by His Spirit or did my writing flesh fatten through the process and block God's attempts? Will it reach the hearts of those who need it?

Have you ever read a piece of work that was so good you were discouraged? After you closed the book, you might have thought, "I'll never be able to write like that." Confidence then wilts like a flower beyond its bloom. But this week I discovered something in a way I haven't thought of it before.

We are all like flowers. Our lives and careers bloom into peaks and then after a time, we no longer bloom. The root is always there even if we can't see it above the ground. It will bloom again and again when our season returns. Some seasons are better than others. We receive the right amount of sunlight, water, and fertilizer to bloom more beautiful than before--to last longer. Each new book is the blooming flower in its season.

Some flowers never bloom. These are the books that are never finished. Others bloom but are never picked. These are the finished books that never go anywhere but are still for God's enjoyment. Then there are the flowers that are picked by a child or a person just so that person will enjoy that flower. These are the friends, critique partners, and judges who read an unpublished manuscript that they love. Then there are those flowers that are picked and they make it to a vase for the family table, business meeting, hospital visit, etc. These are the books that are published and they make the midlist market. Then there are the flowers that are picked and used with a select few to make a beautiful flower arrangement for a wedding, or a huge banquet to be enjoyed by many. These are the books that make it to the best sellers list.

All of these flowers are different colors and types. These are the different genres of each manuscript. Some of these flowers need more light than others, warmer temperatures, more water, less. Some will bloom in the spring, others in the summer, and still more in the fall. Some of these flowers have different smells, some will produce more pollen and create allergies. These are the people that don't like our manuscripts and never will, because our manuscripts aren't intended for their hearts. Then there will be those who will love the fragrance of our flower, who will cherish it's story and beauty, and who will want to see it shared with others. These are the word of mouth advertisers.

All flowers and books have some of the same common things. They have to be planted, fed, prepared, and fertilized. Some take longer than others. Some do better after they have moved to a new place, dug up and replanted in new soil. The process isn't pleasant or thrilling, but the end result well worth it.

Regardless of where you are, God has you and your work in the palm of his hand. You will bloom and so will your work. Keep writing, keep blooming until the right season comes along, and be willing to dig up your roots and be replanted in new soil if necessary.



  1. Okay, this was just for me. Right Jenn? What a beautiful analogy. Thanks.

  2. Jenn,
    Thanks for sharing. We have to put ourselves in God's hands, write for His glory, and the rest will happen His way.