Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pruning, Thinning, Deadheading, and Weeding

 (Photo courtesy of Ramblin' with AM)

The Author Blog Challenge is almost half way through.  That means June is almost half way through.  This is a beautiful month of flowers blooming, and gardens growing.

I continue my month long journey to decide if I want to take my writing to another level - to try to write a book. Or at least, to go beyond blogging.

Today's prompt in the Challenge is:

"Describe your editing process. Who edited your book? What was your relationship with your editor like? What could each of you have done to improve it? What might you do differently in the future?"

Well, I have no book, not yet.  But if I had a dream editor, I would hope that she would be my ally.

In gardening, it is necessary to cut, shape, and sometimes even thin, in order to get maximum production from your plants.  Some flowering plants also require deadheading.  This sounds horrible but is only the cutting off of flowers past their prime so that the plant will keep producing.  As for thinning, it seems mean to pinch the life out of tiny beets or lettuces.  However, if you don't give your seedlings enough space,  if you let them remain crowded, they will become stunted.

It is always necessary to weed, to give your plants enough room to stretch, and to insure that they get enough light.  And, because many garden plants are actually weaker than the weeds that threaten to overcome them, our garden plants need us to be their advocates and their allies.

Few gardens flourish without the guiding hand of a good gardener.  The skilled gardener sees the potential in his or her garden and, with a firm but gentle hand, prunes, deadheads, thins, and weeds.

My ideal editor, should I be able to get one, would be to see the beauty of my writing garden.  I, as the author, plant the garden and get it to growing. But, I might be so close to my work that I might not be able do an adequate job of shaping, pruning and thinning.  My ideal editor would help me see where to cut and where to shape.  I might not always agree, and I know the process would be painful.

But in the end, I would hope that, between the two of us, my book would bloom, and enrich the lives of its readers.

Do you have an editor?  Is it a good relationship?  Painful? Both? Does he or she make your writing bloom?  Do you have any advice to give a writer just starting out?


  1. I love this analogy. It emphasises why I need an editor. I am a terrible gardener and wouldn't want to risk being as poor at editing my own work.

  2. Hi Alana, I'm also contemplating a next step in the journey: hiring a mentor to help get some non-fiction writing published. It is exciting. I like the gardening metaphor. My own garden is finally at the stage where everything has been planted. We have received rain every day or two, just perfect to make all those seedlings and transplants grow. I like to go out and commune first thing in the morning. There is not much work to do at this stage, except deadhead the marigolds. It is a time of slow but sure progress.


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