Writing Parables – Life lessons that apply to writing


We have a great play area in the woods close to our house. It’s one of my children’s favorite places to play. However, over the last few years, there have been several thorn plants that have popped up. It started with a little one here, and there until it grew to whole areas they could not play in because they were overgrown with thorns. 

This week they had finally had enough. Determined to get rid of them, they drug out the hedge clippers, saw, wheel barrel, leather gloves, shovels, and a rake. Over the next few days, they diligently worked to rid their play area of all thorns, dead limbs, and unwanted undergrowth. After days, their hard work finally paid off. The whole area is free and clear of all the throns, dead limbs, and all the other things that interfered with their enjoyment of their wonderful God-given play area. 

Sometimes our writing can be like this. Things started out wonderful, but soon we noticed a little thorn here or there. Then before we realized it, whole sections became nasty, bogged-down areas that brought us disinterest, discouragement, and writing no longer held the same kind of joy it had before. 

This can come in many shapes and sizes. Social media nastiness. Workplace disorganization that leads to distractions. One-sided relationships inside the writing community that leave you feeling drained, and bogged down. Work overload. Perfectionism. The phrase, “pick your poison” was made for situations like this. We all have thorns and deadweight. 

Sometimes we need to purposely and intentionally choose to remove these things from our lives. It’s time to get out the leather gloves and tough love and do a little spring cleaning. If it bogs us down and makes our work harder or of poorer quality, it goes. Rip it out by the roots, and cast it aside. If it does not contribute positively to your work, it needs to go. 

We all have those grey areas that fall into the middle. Maybe its something you dearly enjoy, but it doesn’t bring much productivity to your work. Perhaps it is a friendship that is difficult to maintain but always leaves you uplifted. In these areas, we need to take a close, honest, prayerful look at each one and decided what is best for the long term. Whatever that is … do it. Sometimes it can be hard, and you will be pricked with thorns as you get rid of the unwanted or unneeded things, but in the end, you will have a peaceful place to prepare and present your work. 

Over the years, I have cut out toxic friendships, distractions, and learned to turn the internet off. After all, youtube doesn’t work if the internet is off. That just leaves the radio, with all the knob tuning and commercials, and who wants to do that? I already put in my time tuning bunny ears and tin foil. 

This week I challenge all of you to take a long hard look at your work. Are there things you can cut out? Does your creativity garden need pruning? We should all set aside the time to examine our work habits, environment, and productivity. We need to cut out what is not working and enjoy the fruits of our labor with the things that work for us, not the things that work for someone else, or their pet goat. 

I love to hear about your experiences! Have you had to remove things to make your writing and your time better and more productive? Was there something you struggled to decide on? Was it easy to remove these things, or was it hard? Are there any you wish you had removed a whole lot sooner?