Mostly Dead

I’ve had an interesting and busy winter. So much so that I forgot to water the plant in my bedroom. Sometimes I would see its brown and dying leaves just as I fell into bed. I knew I should water it, but I didn’t. I was too tired. By morning, the plant was forgotten in the rush to get kids to school.

Needless to say, this neglected flora curled upon itself and gave up. I was left with a withered knob of root. It broke my heart because this plant came to me as a housewarming gift over twenty years ago.

The plant’s roots were deep, coming to me from my mom and dad from their spider plant that had traversed the United States back in 1979. The mother plant is likely as old as I am and still prolific under my parents’ care.

Refusing to flat-out murder my plant, I performed one last act of kindness. I watered it and put it back in my room beside my bed.

As you can imagine, it’s not dead. It was just mostly dead, lying dormant, waiting for the right moment to shoot back to life.

Writing is exactly like my mostly-dead plant. Sometimes we have to neglect them (ie, trunk them) for a period of time. The market might not be exactly right and we need to give our manuscripts a rest before we revive them. Or, our writing is immature and our plots underdeveloped. Great, pop them into a state of dormancy and pull them out when we are better equipped to rejuvenate them.

We shouldn’t be afraid to set our writing aside, because if there is something good inside–if the roots of plot and character run deep–then mostly dead will come back as something healthy and beautiful and very much full of life.

Have you neglected your writing this winter? Trunked a novel you love? Given up on nurturing your passion altogether? If so, now might be the time to revitalize your wordsmithing.

On the other hand, if your writing has shriveled, wrap your manuscript with care and set it aside in a period of forced neglect. Move on to something more pressing. Your manuscript will wait until you’re ready for it to bloom.

But, the big question: how do you know which stage your manuscript is in?

Curious minds want to know.


12 responses to “Mostly Dead

  1. Love that metaphor.

  2. Two of them are lying wrapped up, waiting to be watered back to life later hopefully 🙂 Trying to use everything I have learned to work on the third for now.

  3. Alison J. McKenzie

    This is a great post. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have a novella begging to be finished, but I need to do some extensive research that feels like it will be quite an undertaking… poor novella. I’m getting close to finishing it. Thanks for the great post!

    • Research can be daunting, but it is oh, so important! Good luck nailing it down and breathing life into your novella.

      And thanks for stopping by to comment!

  5. Thanks, Cat. Now I feel better about having set a couple of projects aside and moving on to other things. A time and a place for everything… xoA

  6. You always have such insight in your writing. I love this one. Yes our writing is very much like tending our gardens, planting, weeding, pruning, watering, and sometimes letting it rest for a season. I think I will let some of my ‘fruits’ dry so I will be able to enjoy them later.

    • Thanks so much for adding to the beautiful ideal of writing as gardening: two of my favorite passions!

      I appreciate you stopping by and hope the fruits of your labor will be sweet when they ripen!

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