Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pruning Roses and Revision

Pruning roses and revision have much in common! Our weather in PA this past week has been erratic yet milder. I couldn't wait to walk around the garden now that the snow melted. One of my first stops was the rose buses. We have five hybrid teas and two climbers in the back yard. ((More about names and colors in a future blog.) Each one is unique not only in the color, size, shape and fragrance of its roses but in the color, size and shape of its foliage. All of them survived the winter heartily with refreshing green color. But as soon as the weather stabilizes I will have to prune back these bushes, removing what looks like viable growth. I don't like to do that. Why can't I just let them grow? Because they won't be as healthy, won't be as ready for new life, won't produce as many roses by the end of summer. Extra wood and foliage will draw energy from the blooms, weakening them. I think you can see where I'm going with this. We write a book and it's our baby and we don't want to change one thing about it. But I've learned to trust my critique partner (another subject for another day) and my editors. When suggestions come with what I consider to be a finished manuscript, I know better than to react. I know I need perspective. I look at the project as a whole, then walk away for a little while or else answer the "easy" queries first. I might even take a walk in the garden. Then after a deep breath, I return to the project to trim or prune, to make changes that can enable new growth not only to this project but to all my projects. It's never easy, it can be hard work, it can sometimes be downright painful. But it's how plants and writers grow.

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