Friday, March 9, 2018

Growing Seasons

It’s been my dream for many years to have a redbud tree in my backyard, so I was delighted when Project Guy (that would be my husband) gave me one for Christmas! It’s always a little scary planting something in the winter when all the signs of life and growth are hidden deep within the branches. But we did so in faith. Project Guy followed directions to dig the right-sized hole and set the tree at the proper depth. After making sure the tree stood straight and tall, he backfiled the hole and added pine needle mulch to keep the roots nice and cozy through the rest of winter.

With the arrival of warmer days, I’ve been going out to check for any signs of those gorgeous magenta blossoms I’ve been anticipating. At the end of February, I could see the tiniest little buds peeping out along each branch. I’m so excited for the brilliant burst of color yet to come!

Waiting for my tree to blossom reminded me of what it can be like to write a novel. At the first glimmer of an idea, the signs of life may be minimal. Is there enough here to develop into a complete story? Before I’ll know for sure, I must do some digging and cultivating. I need to figure out who my characters are at the outset, what they most need to encourage their personal growth, and what events might either hinder or help that growth along so their happily-ever-after can come to full bloom. 

Once the story begins to sprout, the characters come alive in my head and often tell me things about themselves I never expected and wouldn’t have imagined during the early planning stages. At that point, I have to be careful the characters don’t completely take over and send the story off on tangents irrelevant to the central plot. 

Carrying the tree metaphor even further, I may need to do some judicious pruning so that the overall story doesn’t lose its shape.

When I’ve done all I can to make the story as good as it can be, I send it off to my editor, who may do even more pruning and shaping. A few months later, when those first copies of my novel arrive on my doorstep, it’s a thrill to see how that tiny germ of a story idea has blossomed into a published book!



Share your thoughts today. Are there aspects of your daily life where you can see the seasons of planting and growth? Possibly an assignment at work, or a craft project like knitting or quilting? Parents can certainly see the results of their nurturing as they guide their children to grow and learn. How about our faith lives and the ways we nurture them to greater maturity? Any other areas you can think of?

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About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue doggies who doesn’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also made room for the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they moved overseas.





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9 comments:

  1. Such a lovely post, Myra! I'm sure your redbud tree will provide years of beauty and joy. Your analogy to writing is spot on. We start with that tiny seed of an idea and, through the grace of God, see it grow into a finished work. Each time, I am amazed by the process and know that I provided the hands at the keyboard, but the Lord provided the actual story. He is so good!

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    1. That's so true, Debby! God is the real Author of our stories, both real life and imagined!

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  2. Beautiful post, Myra. Now this Northerner knows what tree boasts those beautiful magenta blossoms on our trip north from Florida each spring. I love the analogy of writing to growing seasons. Last year's garden was not good, however, due to the cool wet summer. Hmm. I suppose we go through barren patches in our writing lives too. Yet there is always another season.

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    1. Christine, I have been in love with redbud trees forever! They come in so many shades of pink, too. Possibly the prettiest I've ever seen are Oklahoma redbuds. Such a gorgeous deep shade of magenta! I don't think mine will be quite that brilliant, but I know it will be beautiful!

      Yes, we definitely go through barren stretches in our writing. Sometimes those turn out to be just another season of growth, too, when our "fields" need to lie fallow and regenerate.

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  3. There are a lot of redbud trees around Oklahoma. It's our state tree. Glorious in spring.

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  4. I miss them--so beautiful! Nothing quite like an Oklahoma redbud!

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  5. What a dear husband you have!
    I would say that our move has been the reminder of pruning and renewing. We had to let go of physical items and emotional items but it was for a great new chapter in our own life's story which is really His story.
    Love this post Myra!

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    1. Moving definitely involves some “pruning,” Kelly! But it’s also a new beginning as we make new friends, find a new church family, and start putting down those vital roots.

      Yes, it is always His story!

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  6. Beautiful post and pics. I have roses but not the rosebud tree. I have a huge oak tree in my front yard which requires a great deal of work.

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