Cherry blossoms are set to break out any day now after a long, harsh winter of snow and cold. Believe it or not, these vibrant blooms can teach us something about our writing today.
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In Japanese culture, the flowering cherry tree is a symbol of life and the transformation of life and culture throughout the ages — blooming, replenishing, then blooming again. This notion should reflect our own journey as writers.
It’s vital that we continue to grow and remain open to change in our work. Most authors will admit that their first attempts at writing are rightly tucked away in a cabinet, never to be seen or read by the public. It’s only with subsequent projects that they hit their stride and finally strike a chord with a clear and compelling writing voice.
In this same way, whether we are penning a memoir or the next great American novel, it is important to remember that our characters must demonstrate growth as well. A heroine that fails to transform over time and through a series of tests will appear wooden and uninteresting to readers. Even a villain can someday reflect and see the error of his ways by the time the story nears its end.
Finally, it’s easy to look at a tree with its dead, spindly branches and overlook the beauty that it will once again become. Likewise, our writing lives will appear dormant at times. We may even question whether or not words will ever spring forth again. Never doubt the magic that takes place when the mind is given the time to regenerate. That time is necessary for a creative seed to take root before it can break through and bloom.
As you tackle your own writing project today, consider how your writing has changed with time. Have you had times of retreat? Perhaps you have sat dormant, pondering your next story and are now successfully emerging from a time of quiet, ready to blossom.
Kerri S. Mabee