I fear I am being misunderstood on the horticultural front. I blog for a county-wide church news bulletin and my latest one (read here) was introduced by the editor as me taking a break from gardening to share some thoughts. He clearly doesn’t know me well at all – as several of my friends subsequently pointed out! My garden exists by the grace of God alone but, however non-green-fingered I am, I frequently take inspiration from plants and how they grow. So I’m pleased to be taking another break from gardening to write today…
The flower in the photo is a rhododendron, one of many in the stunning National Trust gardens of Sheringham Park in Norfolk. When Mr C and I visited a couple of weeks ago, the place was in full bloom, an amazing spectacle. Why did I take a photo of this blossom and not any others? Well, if you look carefully, you will see that one petal in each flower cluster is different to the others. Every flower had this feature: one stand-out petal.
As writers, we know we are surrounded by acres of books. Libraries, book shops, our personal spaces (or what used to be spaces): they’re all filled with books. I’m sure I’m not alone when I wonder how my work can possible compete with or complement all these masterpieces. How on earth will mine stand out?
To try to achieve it, we work on coming up with a ground-breaking plot, played out by the most interesting and intriguing set of characters. We strive to make the past come alive, to ignite our readers’ imaginations over fact or fiction. We spend hours and hours perfecting our craft, honing our skill and, along the way, developing sublime procrastination tactics; but our fear – and not an unrealistic one – is that our manuscript will end up in a bottom drawer or a slush pile somewhere, unread, unnoticed.
Perhaps a different perspective is needed before we all give up! Working on our craft is undeniably vital but, deeper than that, is the fact our writing comes from who we are and what we are becoming. With the finger of God touching our hearts and our efforts, we can create and reflect truest beauty. You see, that one petal isn’t trying to be different to the others. It’s in its DNA that it is different.
As we write today (because you will find a spare ten minutes for something so important, won’t you?!) lift your gaze higher. Turn the spotlight away from yourself and let it become all about Him. Be the writer He created you to be: and you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.