My in-laws visited a few months ago and kindly planted a lovely little garden next to my “thinking spot” where I do much of my planning, reading, writing and, well…thinking. As summer approaches the flowers are thriving, the colors ranging from fiery orange to royal purple to cottony white.
When I recently noticed several lush new leaves had miraculously sprouted up in the garden, I rushed to email my mother-in-law and tell her that the sunflower seeds she’d plant had finally decided to make an appearance. Unfortunately, she responded that the rapidly growing leaves we're actually weeds that had crept over from the next-door neighbor’s yard. (What can I say? I’m a writer, not a gardener).
My disappointment was short-lived however as I pulled out the impostors the next morning and realized that the delicately designed harmony of the little garden had been restored. The enlightening (and vaguely embarrassing) episode reminded me of the temptation writers have to allow word weeds (unplanned and inelegant words, phrases, and descriptions) to creep into our work. And now, when I sit in my thinking spot plotting out my next book, it’s a timely reminder that a story, like a garden, requires careful pruning.