July 11, 2017 @ 12:38 PM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As a Writer
Step 6. Writing. And Rewriting.

To continue the gardening metaphor, a flourishing manuscript needs to be carefully cultivated. The words have to be weeded. The sentences pruned like a fruit tree.

Sometimes whole thickets of dead paragraphs need to be rooted out altogether, and the withered words, that once seemed to blossom on the page, burned on the bonfire of the rewrite desk.

Once the dead words are attacked, like the winter rose bed, with a pair of very sharp secateurs, the first growth that is your draft will almost certainly bloom wonderfully.

Never be too precious about your manuscript. So long as the words have been sown in good soil, they’ll always grow again.

When I do find them resisting, it usually means something is wrong. I have to go over the research again to refresh my understanding of the particular section. Sometimes I realise that an important fact or insight or perspective has eluded me, and I have to dig deeper into the creative soil to unearth it.

That done – the dead wood cut away and the mind garden that is my manuscript properly fertilised, the germ will generally put out new shoots.


Photo: My summer garden. Anthony Hill