As a storyteller, a writer, and a speaker, ideas tumble through my mind, sometimes keeping me awake at night or popping in when I least expect them to. These ideas are the seeds for books, stories, poems, articles, workshops, or speaking engagements. I jot them down on whatever paper is handy and now in a notebook so the odds and ends of paper do not get lost in a jumble of papers.
I have a black thumb; I am not a gardener who longs for spring to arrive, when I can pull out the seed packets with their pretty pictures on the front, or grab the bottles of seeds saved from other years’ harvests. But, I can pull out those seeds of ideas, and begin to work on them, ensuring they don’t remain hidden away on the shelf or in the drawer. I must take them out, work on them, set small steps until I accomplish planting them on the page. Then comes the tending: the editing, the research, the hard work of having the dreams become goals, which in turn become the finished project.
This week as I thought about all the ideas floating in my mind, cluttering up notebooks and odd pieces of paper, I had to choose, which ones must now be planted and worked on. I thought about the various things I enjoy and feel drawn to, and the presentations I make to a variety of ages. What project should I write about today, and then seriously pursue?
I sorted the seed packets of ideas and thought about a challenge I received several years ago from one of my grandsons. He told me I should try to branch into writing fiction, a full-length novel in fact. My initial reaction at his suggestion, I must admit, was to reject the idea. I told him I did not write fiction, but he continued to challenge me to try. How did this young man get to be so wise?
I finally accepted his challenge. The time has come to keep me accountable by sharing this dream with a wider group than just my family and a few close friends. I must return to the work in progress and tend to the edits that need to be typed in, the rounding out of character development, and more tension within the story line. I need to place fear on the back burner, grab hold of the spade of hard work, and sit myself at my desk with the goal of completing all the edits before the summer has run its course.
I have procrastinated working on it for months, and yet in this time of allowing the seeds to rest or maybe begin to sprout enough to be transplanted, I have continued to work on my writing. I have had several small pieces accepted for publication. I have planned and taken a trip with my husband to make memories and even garner more seeds of ideas for future writing. It has not been a wasted time. But, just like preparing the soil and planting the seeds in a flower or vegetable garden when the time is right, I believe the time has come to pull out the draft, and plant the seed so I can harvest a finished, edited, readable manuscript ready for publication this fall.
The second seed of an idea, which is being planted and can be added to the variety of my idea garden, is to write a short non-fiction book to go with a workshop I am preparing to teach this fall called, “Preserving Family Memories.” This short e-book and possible print copy will hopefully be available by the time I have the workshop fully researched and prepared.
There are many ideas floating through my mind. Each requiring work, just like planting a garden. Now that the ideas of a dream of two books is out into the world, I will tend them carefully and see what they will become.
Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner