Waiting for Beauty in the Creating Process

A few weeks ago, a crew of strong, thick-armed men wrapped their hands tight around bushes and yanked the roots of overgrown bushes and weeds from the soil in our front yard, leaving the Earth freshly tilled and ready for the beauty I’ve been dreaming of:

wild purple cone flowers

tall, billowing prairie grasses

lush, thick-leafed bushes with tiny budding white flowers

I waited for the beauty of color to drip from the black, barren dirt for a week.

And on the day our seedlings were planted it didn’t come like I had hoped.

Our plants drooped, some leaves withering into brown despite the watering, the sunning,  the weeding.

A week, almost two passed and I’d found myself still waiting on the beauty for which I’d hoped despite so much care, so much babying and so much attention.

Finally, yesterday, I stomped out into the front yard of floundering plants, standing in the front beds all but cursing the very ground while quickly, rigidly cutting off the trampled bush branches and the dried yellow leaves.

I left the front yard in a huff, dragging my little ones’ feet away from the delicate beds, abandoning my efforts and wondering if I’d been too harsh in my pruning and all but destroyed any hope of the beauty I’d envisioned.

A few hours later, in the glow of sunset before I went to bed, I peaked out at the front beds to look at the damage I might have provoked from my ruthless hacking away of branches and leaves and stems.

And there, to my shock, was some of the beauty I’d been long seeking: greener leaves standing tall and grasses perked up toward the horizon.

Still a long way to go, but not nearly as far.

As I stepped back and looked at the garden beds, my thoughts immediately drifted to writing and creating.

How often do we expect beauty to grow in our creative endeavors by trying to make everything perfect the moment it’s been planted?

Sometimes ideas need to take root.

Sometimes branches need to be trimmed.

Sometimes inklings of imagination need to be saturated with thought-water and sunlight.

Sometimes while we’re waiting on beauty to emerge as we baby words or thoughts and gently bathe them without really pruning, we never get that fully alive-and-leaning-into-the sunlight-while-standing-tall blossom.

As writers and creators often we neglect the hard work of editing and really pruning the words we’ve written, editing and tweaking the pictures we’ve captured or painted.

So while, yes, we need a season of gentle babying to help establish those words, those pictures, those ideas in the soil of life, we also need a season of steadied, focused pruning, too, to bring our creativity into its full state of beauty.

Let’s not just plant and hope and wait for the beauty, friends.

Let’s prune, too.

{Perhaps, you should join one of our Writing Circles and let the pruning begin?}

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