The African violet was drooping and sad, the same as the face of our friend. She held out the plant, the green pot resting on her trembling, outstretched palms.
“Can you nurse it back to health?”
Of course we said yes. The violet belonged to our friend’s daughter, also our friend, who had recently died. We’d been unable to save her. We would not fail in our role as plant doctors.
Like our friend, our story characters sometimes come to us with sad faces and ask for our help. The story they expected to live is languishing in our imagination or on our computer, no longer part of our daily routine. These stranded tales haunt us with a sense of what could be. What should be. If only.
If we dwell on the dark thoughts too long, we’re tempted to give up and turn away from our writing. We’re disappointed with ourselves because we can’t make the story work. At the same time, we think if we force ourselves to persevere, to continue despite the setback of imagination failure, we’ll be unhappy with the final result.
And yet, isn’t the future always a work in progress? The days ahead may be murky, but they come and go, no matter if we abandon the journey or plod along.
We could have given up on our friend’s violet. Instead, we tended the plant with vigilance. Soil, water, lighting, fertilizer—each day we made sure the violet had the care and attention needed to progress. When we returned the violet to our friend, it was thriving and had created a small daughter plant.
Stories thrive and progress with care and attention too. And while you get no promise of a happy ending, you’ll never know the outcome if you give up too soon.
What do you do when a promising story fades? Do you give up when your creativity ebbs? Or do you keep going? Let us know in the comments.
Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
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