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Gather Ye Rosebuds: What Stubborn Weeds and Good Writing Have in Common


Many authors believe that only bad writers need editing and revision. I can assure you, that idea is false. Every author needs editing; savvy writers actually get it. Here’s why:

The process of writing is quite a bit like having a big backyard. I can plant beautiful, bountiful blooms. I can water them. I can watch with delight as those seedlings break ground into grand, gorgeous displays.

But around those blooming plants leaves will fall from the trees above. Naughty weeds will sprout in and try to camouflage themselves as if they belong amongst my flowers. Birds will drop twigs, rabbits will gnaw, and insects will plague those shooting bulbs from the moment they finally start to bear the fruit of my efforts.

This is where editing and revision come in.

Editing is gardening. Weeding. Cleaning. Shaping. Fertilizing. Trimming. Nurturing. Protecting. Manicuring.

Just plain ol’ showing off.

Everyone who owns a garden must weed it and feed it and help it grow; from a lone tree planted on an inner-city apartment balcony, to the lawn of Central Park, to the lush topiaries and botanicals of the Palace of Versailles. However simple or grand, they all have gardening in common.

Write the same way you grow a garden. Plant your thoughts like seeds, and watch them grow.

Write the first chapter without self-editing. Just write. Simply plant seeds for 30 minutes every day, until it’s done. When you’re finished, don’t keep poking and peeking at the seeds; set the first chapter aside while you move on. After the last chapter is finished, then go back to reread and revise that first chapter. You’ll probably find that your overall focus and message is much sharper. Cut and trim, add and fill in as necessary.

Repeat chapter by chapter. Till the ground, plant the seeds, water and fertilize the ground.

Once your story is written; it’s time to garden. 

You’re probably going to need help with this one. Especially if you want something really magnificent. Disney doesn’t hire a standard homeowner to craft it’s trees into exact replicas of their uber-recognizable characters; they hire a landscape architect. The level of attention you give to this phase—the revision and editing phase—will determine the level of beauty and craftsmanship in the final product.

You have a story to tell, but you alone carry the seeds. Without your attention and effort, those seeds will go unplanted, unseen and will never wow an audience with their dazzling display. But once they’ve begun to bloom, remember: editing and revision are the tools that make it truly beautiful.


Brittnee Newman, Marketing & Communications Strategist for Xulon Press, has been a blogger, freelance journalist and editor for just over half a decade. She joined Xulon Press as an editor in 2012, and now supports the company within the Marketing Department. Follow her on Twitter at @XulonBrittnee.

6 Comments on “Gather Ye Rosebuds: What Stubborn Weeds and Good Writing Have in Common

  1. Dear Brittnee,
    Thank you so much for your article. I had a cardiac arrest resulting in a traumatic brain injury on December 3, 2005.. I have since then wanted to write about my journey with my heart conditon to share with others. Since I am not allowed to drive anymore, I am a shut-in, but all for a reason according to the LORD’s plans. He has kept me from sinking into a well of depression. I praise the LORD everyday for allowing me to have this condition instead of my husband and three children. With your helpful article, I need to first gather all my seeds and go from there. Thank you so much again for your engaging article.
    In Christ, Veda Pong, Romans 8:28(my life verse)

  2. I could agree more. I spent alot of time going over and over each chapter and did a pretty good job at initally editing my book. And then I had it professionaly edited and it really made a world of a difference. If I ever write another book I will approach it the way you laid it out for us. Thanks Brittnee!!!

  3. I am just finishing my first book. The editing behind the editor was harder and more stressful for me than writing the book. Yet without the editor I would have a weedy garden. Thank you editing department. Peggy Hof-Corrigan

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