Monday, February 21, 2011

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. — Proverb from Guinea

I trimmed my roses, pricking my finger in the process. It burned a tiny hole in my finger, stinging with the wrath of a thousand miniature bees. When it bled, I winced a little, but I remembered why I was trimming the roses, and I forged ahead, trimming larger stems with larger thorns. Had I worn gloves, the task would have been less daunting, but as I was racing against an approaching torrent of rain, I knew I didn't have time to even look for the misplaced gloves. With Spring right around the corner, now is the time to prune, giving the best chance for new growth. When we prune, we are removing the old, the dead, the diseased, allowing the plant to breath, to reach up and touch the rays of the sun, to begin again. That's just what God does with us. He prunes away our old habits, our dead intentions, our diseased attitudes, leaving us clean and new, ready to grow new fruit. Fruit grown exactly the way He would grow it. He shines His rays of light and love. We only have to reach up and soak Him in. Sometimes our thorns prick Him, and He feels the pain only a father can feel from the thorns of a child. But despite the pain, He keeps trimming us, making us into the person He wants us to be. We have to yield to the Master Gardener. Spring smells much sweeter when He takes control of the garden. After all, it's not our garden, it's His......

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Learning how to be a Great Writer

A friend of mine asked me a question this week. "Do you want to win a contest, or do you want to be a Great Writer?" She knew the answer to this question because her answer would be the same as mine. Both. Writing is not for the faint of heart. It's not something that flows easily from the tip of the pen, or the clicks of the keyboard. Writing requires a commitment. Dedication. It's like a lifetime love affair. When you love someone, you have to put your heart out there, exposed, hoping that they will love you back. Maybe they won't. Maybe your heart will get broken, or even crushed. But still, you had the guts to put it out there. Writing is much the same way. You love your story and your characters. You want other people to love them too, so you put your writing out there, exposed, hoping that someone will like it and fall in love with it. When your heart gets broken, does that mean you will never love again? Does it mean that no one else will ever love you? No. You will love and be loved again. It's the same with your writing. Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions are the same. I don't like chocolate cake, but that doesn't mean that chocolate cake is bad. My husband loves chocolate cake, but that doesn't mean that he is bad. And even though I don't like chocolate cake, that doesn't mean that I don't like my husband. I don't like to read murder mysteries. I much prefer sweet romance novels with lots of conflict. That doesn't mean that murder mysteries are bad. So if one person doesn't love your writing, that doesn't mean that someone else won't. Should you just give up and stop trying? If you have to rewrite and edit, does that mean that you should retreat and stop writing? No. You keep working on your love-hate relationship with your writing and find the place where you have edited the life back into it and someone else loves it. There are always fish in the sea. There's a great big world out there. You'll find love elsewhere. Once you find the love, it will inspire you to keep giving the love by producing more of your heart's ponderings. Anything is possible if you are willing to work at it. Even marriage is something you have to work at. Everyday. Writing is taking a chance that your heart will be broken, and being tough enough to pick up the pieces and try again. In essence, if I never get my heart broken, I may never be a Great Writer.
So I will edit. I will write and rewrite. I will be Great, if only for myself...........and I will dream.......and write again.........

And my critique buddies will cheer me on!