The word ‘pruning’ has cropped up in my house a lot lately. According to Webster, pruning is:
“1. to remove dead or living parts from a plant so as to increase fruit or flower production or improve the form; 2. to cut out or get rid of as being unnecessary.”
The first time the word came to me was Ash Wednesday. It’s Lent and a part of this season is to identify those dead and unnecessary parts of ourselves and get rid of them. Then in Saturday’s gardening section of the newspaper there was an article on how to prune Knock-Out roses. I have two Knock-Out rosebushes and they both need attention.
But the writer in me thought of my friend Brenda, whose book will be released next year. During the editing process she was told she had to get rid of a FULL CHAPTER!! A chapter represents a lot of work. She wasn’t sure she could do it, but of course she did. Once it was gone she realized there was nothing in that chapter that moved the plot, fleshed out a character, or added to the story – so getting rid of it actually helped her story. Here’s where you can read about her Quaker Cafe
I don’t know about you, but even though I know there is that ‘increase in fruit and flower production or improve form’ outcome, the actual cutting is a challenge for me – no matter what form it takes.
It’s hard to look at those character traits that aren’t very pretty.
I’m always afraid I’ll cut the wrong canes or branches on my plants and then they’ll either look worse or not grow back at all.
I’m currently working on some poems, a couple short stories and another novel. I keep a file called ‘shards’ for some of the sections I prune out of them. In the back of my mind I think, ‘one day they’ll be perfect for something!’ Which is crazy – that’s like keeping my stack of rose clippings hoping they grow into a new rosebush. Honestly, it’s just less scary to cut and paste and keep my words, than it is to simply hit ‘delete.’
And maybe my next post will be shorter 🙂
How good are you at pruning?