With Love

After she visited the world-renowned botanist Luther Burbank, Helen Keller said this of him: “When plants talk to him, he listens. That is why they tell him so many things about themselves….Mr. Burbank feels the individuality…of the plant…so he encourages the plant to put forth the best of which it is capable.”

When Luther was asked how he could keep track of details about his thousands of plants, he replied, “I do it with love. I feel an affection for everything I am working with, and so I can keep in touch with everything that concerns them.”

Miraculous, isn’t it? Luther Burbank has been called the “Plant Magician” and with good reason: His gifted hands turned grafting into an art: flowers and fruits he created still flourish today. He created more than 800 new strains of plants in his long career.

We may not be keeping track of thousands of plants, but as creatives, most of us have a number of projects in the works. Let’s take a few tips from a master gardener:

Let’s listen: As Helen Keller said of Luther, “When plants talk to him, he listens. That’s why they tell him so many things…” In some ways the stories we write and the characters we create are like the plants our friend Luther nurtured. Can we do the same with our own creations: Can we listen and let them tell us what they want us to know?

Let’s feel individuality: Sometimes the characters we conjure up feel generic—lacking a spark that makes the feel full-souled and unique. If you’re struggling with this problem, there may be an easy solution: Simply interviewing a character you’ve created can be so revealing! Use the Q & A approach with a character who seems flat or frustrating, and you may be surprised with what you’ll turn up. Sometimes characters have their own ideas about who they are.

Let’s look for the best: As creators, it’s our job to bring out the best in ourselves, in our work, and in the characters we are bringing to life on the page. Sometimes that means revising until a story and the people who inhabit it feel rich and multi-dimensional. If a character isn’t singing and dancing on the page, we’re not allowing them to “put forth the best of which it is capable.” We need to work harder and dig deeper.

Let’s do it with love: What a charming answer Luther gave when asked how he kept track of all his plants: “I do it with love.” Pouring his love into his plants, he nurtured their potential. Along with sunshine, water, and good soil, he gave them a priceless gift. Let’s do the same—let’s pour love into our work and nurture its potential as we all write on!

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About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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