Life, Updates, Writing Process

Seeds and Stories

Everything’s in bloom here! Finally!

I’ve planted seeds in my garden. Things that spring up quickly — lettuce, spinach, peas, peppers. Hopefully, I have some luck with them. I still want a tomato plant, some herbs, and of course lots of flowers for the front of the house. We’ll see what happens in the weeks to come.

The crabapple tree outside our house turned into a cotton ball of white flowers the day after I took this photo. Beautiful!

Stories start with seeds too. You have that niggling little scene, character, or plot in the back of your brain that sprouts. Either you nurture it into a full-grown story, or you pluck it.

In theory, you could even plant those types of seeds. Collect little inspirations until you could combine them in just the right way. Maybe that’s why so many writers carry around notebooks or have ever-lengthening notes on their phones? We’re collecting seeds. Waiting to see which one sprouts so that we can transfer it to the greater garden of the pile of work in our mind. So that we can give it the full nurturing care it deserves.

Sometimes you get a lot of ideas that sprout all at once, but you just can’t plant THAT many at once. (like who really needs 60 lettuce plants…but that’s how many seeds you get right? Maybe you start 20 seeds, but you still don’t need 20 lettuce plants.) It’s okay to pick and choose the ideas you want to work on. It’s okay to be WRONG about the ideas you thought you wanted to work on.

These are things that took me too long to learn. Just because you wrote 20,000 words, 50,000 words, or even 100,000 words on something, doesn’t mean you need to see it through. (unless you’re on contract…then you’ve gotta work something out…or talk to somebody about how you can’t do that anymore). Words in existence means you entertained the idea. It’s okay to move on. Sometimes that’s what you need for the idea to come back stronger and better than before (because let’s face it some ideas are like weeds that just won’t die).

Thin out the ideas that don’t work for you, that don’t excite you, and that you don’t know how to write yet. You can always come back to them and try sprouting the seeds again. Unlike real seeds, story seeds will always be there. They don’t expire. They might look a little different than what you sprout right now, but they’ll be there later.

I get story seeds scattering around my mind all the time; characters, scenes, worlds, vibes, aesthetics, you name it and there’s probably some of it in my brain for some story somewhere. I, like many, keep mine in a notebook of “shiny new ideas” but also on my phone and on my Pinterest boards. The come from movies, TV shows, books, songs, conversations, the way a person moves, or even the way light hits something on a particular day. Sometimes stories find you, and sometimes you have to work for them.

No matter what…you still have to write it in the end.

Happy Writing!

Rachel

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