This is my first entry on the blog where I’m going to write about writing. A lot of you may know (Ha!) that I’ve been in the book-writing process for quite some time now. Boy, what a process. It’s a beautiful process too! What started back in 2014 as an idea has finally come to fruition, and is at the home stretch as I write this today. What a feeling, indescribable really, to see a vision in your head slowly unfold to a beautiful book! I thought it would be a good idea to write about the process of book-writing, because I’ve learned so much from it–about myself, my business, my principles, my family, friends and all these relationships, and especially the language of flowers! I want to share this experience with you, and I hope there will be a piece of it along the way that moves you, means something to you, maybe it sparks an idea, or an inspiration. I don’t know, but I hope it fulfills something in you. I have taken a lot of notes & photos through this adventure, and I’ll continue to do so. I can’t hold all that stuff in my head! I’m a ‘take a note’ freak. Thanks for joining me, please give me some feedback in the comments! Enjoy~
This morning I am waiting to hear back from my editor on the copy-edits. This is after two rounds of editorial comments after submitting my manuscript on June 1. And today I have just submitted my final copy of the New Language of Flowers Dictionary. And I am giddy with excitement over this part of the book, yet at the same time scared to death that I’ve made an error, left out an important flower, or both. I’ve decided I’m not going to be able to shake that feeling, ever. I’ll just have to live with it and let it be–it is what it is and I’ve done my best with it. Research, research, and more research. Countless hours of reading about flowers, their mythological traits, symbolism, garden habits, botanical attributes, genus’, etc. I know the Language of flowers will never be done, and I state that in my book with an explanation as to why. And I have added 48 new flowers into this modern dictionary and I feel awesome about this! It is a comprehensive reference, and my hope it will viewed and coveted as one of the best.
When I sat down to start writing the book last fall, I found it pretty easy to let all my thoughts flow. But once I got the layout of the book figured out and starting placing some real writing into it, I froze up a little bit. I found myself stumped for the first time in my life while writing.
But I’ve never written a book, and it was starting to weigh in my thoughts and found myself thinking ‘what on earth am I doing?’ I’m not the expert horticulturist, or writer, and especially don’t own the language of flowers! I fished around for some tips and articles about my frozen brain and stumbled upon a writing workshop happening locally, and it was happening within the week, so I jumped on board.
So the next week I attended a creative writing retreat instructed by Patrice Vecchione. The workshop took place at the UCSC Arboretum & Botanic Garden, which of course, provided an incredible amount of inspiration.
The simple idea behind this workshop, learning to write creatively—or, tapping into your creative mind proved to be a challenge for me for the first half of the day. I felt a little intimidated by some of the other attendees, who had already participated at some level in Patrice’s writing workshops and retreats. But, the 2nd half of the day, things started to flow. I loosened up and found all kinds of words to put on paper. We wrote about a lot of things. We were given excerpts from great writing pieces by incredible writers, and was told to ‘elaborate’ on their piece. Basically we analyzed what the writing meant to us. That was incredibly helpful and taught me to be authentic in my writing. I learned SO much in this retreat, not just about writing, but about a lot of deep-souling things too. How to really find yourself and how you feel when you’re writing about something or someone. The most important piece that I brought home with me was to ”Tell your truth ~ Tell your story”. Now, I know this all sounds a little overboard in preparation in writing a book such as mine–which is a how-to, inspiration, and reference book. But it worked! I think back to when I first sat down to write my book and all of a sudden everything stopped coming out of my head. I was extremely critical of each and every sentence I wrote. But I learned from this workshop to just let it all flow out. Don’t worry about what is sounds like at first, just get it on paper. That was a game changer for me. When I got back to my desk that next week, it was all just flowing, and I finished most of my book within a few weeks. Thank you Patrice!
And to close this post, I wanted to share an excerpt from a wonderful book I’m currently reading, Ghosts in the Garden, written by Beth Kephart;
But you are never perfectly right when it comes to words. You are only yourself, and when you are alone as much as I had been alone with the work, yourself becomes too tight and stingy. You try to put too fine a point on things; you lose your talent for idle thought or lazy dreaming. You start doing battle with yourself over finally meaningless things when you could and actually should be out helping your neighbor rake her leaves. You obsess (but of course you obsess) until the joy is gone from that thing you’d loved, until your fury overwhelms your passion, until you no longer know how to sit with your back against a tree and write poetry that no one will ever see. I had become a writer because I’d loved the sound, the kiss of words. But now language seemed vacuous and puny.
What I had loved had become what I felt compelled to do; it was time to walk out my own front door. “Keenly observed,” author Gretel Ehrlich as written, “the world is transformed.” I went to the garden to see more truly. I went for transformation’s sake, and to win back my talent for plain living.
I love that. A talent for living. Onward now, and don’t forget to walk out your own front door and keep living!