Tending the Garden

The rich mix of New Jersey sun and rain is perfect for more than just gardens. It’s also ideal for weeds. Keeping these pests at bay can be daunting. The best strategy I’ve found is to weed a little each day, preferably in the early morning before it gets too hot. Too much weeding at once, and my hands and back get sore. Worse yet, I get sloppy and will either miss the roots when weeding or pluck out plants that aren’t weeds! Either way, my garden suffers.

My writing, too, needs weeding. I’m an “over-writer” so my early drafts are always too wordy. But, like my garden, if I edit too much at once, I either miss things that I should be catching, or I take out too much and lose the heart of the story. Editing a little each day, however,  allows me to step back from my written garden so that I can see clearly each day what needs to be tended and tightened.

What about you? How do you tend your garden of words?

8 thoughts on “Tending the Garden

  1. I like your ‘easy does it’ approach to weeding. My back yard could really use some.
    My writing tends to be sparse and I’m often directed to add. But the same notion, moderation, applies to this also. Too much planting at once is not pretty.

  2. My writing definitely needs weeding all of the time. I am an over-writer as well. I was not surprised to discover that my line in the Kidlit Progressive poem was one of the longest! 🙂 I, like many others am able to edit something after I have put it aside for a while. Fresh eyes do wonders for me.

  3. Great reminder, Laura, about tending to our words. We can get so caught up in the “right” length for our works that we lose voice along the way, either by adding unnecessary words or by deleting important ones. My best strategy is to ignore my garden of words for a bit (probably why I’m not a great outdoor gardener). When I come back to it later, I have new eyes and new ears that help me pick and choose just the right words.

  4. Thanks, Mirka, Natalie, and Jody, for stopping by to share your word gardening strategies. I find it interesting that whether we tend to be flowery or spartan in our early drafts, moderation in weeding and watering our writing is key.

  5. I love your comparison. A little at a time is always a good idea.Time is the best editor. Stepping back for a while makes those “weeds” pop out.

  6. I love words. Words, words, words! Why not use three instead of one? Then, I get to the revision part and think, “Oh. That’s why.” 🙂

  7. Funny enough, I think I’m an under-writer. I try to keep things short and then I have to go back in and fill in some details (and pull out some weeds too!). I guess my garden starts out sort of spotty.

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