In a creative writing class many years ago, a college professor looked at us – a bunch of 19 and 20-year-olds struggling to put words on paper – and said something to the effect of: “Writing is not difficult. Just look within and let the words spring forth.”
As if writing was as effortless as tulips emerging from the ground each spring. In reality, that latter process is not easy. Not one bit. Perennial bulbs such as tulips require enormous energy, and often care, to successfully bloom again and again each year.
Writing too necessitates perseverance, and lots of it, on the part of the writer. Even the shortest blurb can be subject to fits and starts … sometimes even more so than longer articles! As the work flowers in all sorts of unexpected ways, a writer needs to tend to the words, editorially pruning rambling trains of thought, wordy passages and typos till a final, cohesive document emerges.
Our intrepid writer can finally post the completed piece to a blog or preferred platform. Right?
Well … not so fast! Did the writer put aside their writing for a day (or at least several hours) before the final review? Did they get another person to eyeball their work? Did they come up with a plan for social media promotion?
Honestly, sometimes I do feel like shrieking at the process – and I’ve been writing since the time of that memorable college class. (Not going to say how long ago that was!) But seriously: If a writer is questioning their work; self-editing and also obtaining an outside reviewer; looking ahead to social marketing; then they are … doing the job right!
Writing (and by extension, editing) never follows a smooth, linear progression. There will be wild, unchecked growth and the need to cut back stalky runners. But like beautiful spring tulips, the end results can be gorgeous and inspiring.
*These April 2018 photos were taken not in Holland, but at Holland Ridge Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey at their first-ever Tulip Festival! Well worth a trip if you’re in the area in late April to early May.