Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writer with a Redwood Vision

Unearthing the fifth question of my 8 Questions Every Writer Must Ask Themselves post, today I center in on willingness to grow.

What’s the first thing you think of when I mention The Redwood Forest?

And here’s where I’m going with that…

We All Start Small
The National Park Service offers this tree takeaway: “A redwood cone is the size of an olive. Each cone contains 60 to 120 seeds. One tree may produce 10 million seeds but only a few will reach maturity. If a seed settles in just the right place it may grow into a tree that will live more than 2,000 years.”

One seed, one thought, one novel idea can end up turning into an awe-inspiring massive beauty.

The common life span for a redwood is 500-700 years. These trees exude the perseverance of patient living.

Baby redwoods don’t peer up thinking “I’ll never be as tall as them.” Instead of focusing on what they’re not, they keep busy growing and remembering what they are sure to become.

The Great Influence of Outside Sources
As writers we are wise to accept help. The role of rain and fog profoundly influence why redwoods grow so tall. Reading books on the craft, joining writer’s groups, attending classes or conferences, and submitting to editors all have the potential to grow us as writers. I firmly believe in inviting the rain and fog. As a visionary, I’m an advocate of tapping into knowledge from outside sources as a means for growth.

The Power of Inside Sources
Redwood bark contains plenty of water-based sap. The bark is a key explanation for why they shoot up so high. Not only does the bark thrive on what it needs to grow, but it’s thick, so it’s protected from fires. Ever hear the importance of writer’s growing thick skin? Here’s a different take. Lean into your unique writer voice. Own it. It’s yours alone. That’s your water-based sap. At the same time, don’t let in discouraging thoughts and give in to the temptation to quit. Be filled with what’s needed to keep out what’s not needed.

Help from Friends
An eHow site about redwoods lends this detail, “Each tree intertwines its roots with those of nearby trees, adding strength and stability to the group or grove.” I can’t say enough about garnering support from friends on this journey and offering support in return. My writer friends have encouraged, challenged, inspired, and prodded me to continue reaching my goals. I feel rooted to them and quite simply…taller because of them.

Unexpected Protection
Connecting with other writers helps tremendously when it comes to learning about the industry (in regards to query writing, character development, and marketing to name just a few). I’ve discovered a wealth of knowledge about what not to do on agent blogs and other industry blogs. It’s amazing how many mistakes I made when I first started out. Thankful for the wind protection of other redwoods, I’m able to develop more sturdily as a writer.

Where We Root Matters
Redwoods are located where the soil is known for its richness. As much as I’m deeply indebted to my friends for helping me thrive as a writer, the bulk of my gratitude goes to my God. He’s why I don’t quit. He’s who reminds me why I do this even when it’s difficult. Because I’m rooted in Him, I trust I’ll grow so high as to touch Him someday. No matter what, I’ll live to glorify Him—His creation.

Humility is Attractive
Some of my favorite writers are the most humble people I’ve either met or witnessed. They are towering trees, but they serve (and market) as though they are seeds. They live in the memory of being a seed and yet they are majestic. These beautiful redwoods draw thousands to flock to national parks each year. National bestsellers, handling fame and attention with grace. Inviting more wide-eyes and dropped jaws. These enormous trees protect the younger ones and intertwine their roots with the baby trees below.

That's the way I want to grow.

How about you? Can you relate to the redwood vision?

*photos by flickr


  1. That's amazing! I'd love to see one someday, and yeah, based on what you've written, I definitely can relate.

  2. This is beautiful, Wendy! I've been questioning my longevity lately. But like you, I'm so thankful for the people I've met on this journey.

  3. Redwoods are beautiful. And yes I can relate to the vision. I shall be looking at Redwoods, and other trees differently now. Thank you for your inspiring words!

  4. What a great post. I've learned so much from you. I love this analogy. I never knew so much about the redwoods. What a beautiful picture of God speaking to us in ways you so eloquently put it. I am really enjoying this writing journey. I love learning so many new things. I'm about a week and a half from my first writer's conference, and I'm excited and nervous about it! I'm at the stage now where I don't even know if I have any talent for this writing thing. So I'll be getting my first critique. :) Your post is timely.

  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Wendy! Love it! I can relate to every single aspect you wrote about in relation to the redwood. Thanks so much for the post.

  6. Wendy, you've done it again. Your use of analogy is masterful. This post is a shining example.

    Every point you made resonates with me. My favorite line, though, was this: "I feel rooted to them [friends] and quite simply…taller because of them." I smiled because you are lithe and beautiful, and little ol' me really does look up to you. But you have a delightful way of making me feel taller through your encouraging words and sunbeam smile, and I thank you for that.

  7. I love, love, love this! Each point resonated with me. I am a better person because of my friends on the journey. I've learned so much from them, been encouraged, strengthened, corrected, and carried.

    The point about the bark and the sap was particularly helpful to me today as I'm winding up edits on the current WIP. I always get to the point of wondering if I've made it better or worse through edits, and I needed the reminder to trust my process, trust my voice, and then let it go.

  8. I've love to see the redwoods, and those are all great points.

  9. I love this post. A writer's journey is like a Redwood tree...from root to seed. Thanks for the inspiration today.

  10. Beautiful analogy Wendy. While we may grow on our own, I think the most integral part to our success lies in the community. Other more mature writers give daily advice, support and remind us that we can grow forever.

  11. What a beautiful parallel between Redwoods and our growth as writers. I really needed to read this today, Wendy! God bless you. :)

  12. Wendy:
    I like what you say about the Redwoods living with the memory of being small even when they are tall.
    In the future,as a writer, I hope to remember how it has been for me in the beginning days of my journey in the craft.

  13. Wholly inspiring, Wendy! We must all look to the tallest Redwood for encouragement.

  14. Thank you for sharing this wonderful vision, Wendy. I am always so blessed by your anaologies. *hugs*

  15. Love me some redwoods. I do believe in longevity, but with it comes flexibility, as the Lord so kindly showed me. From one women's fiction author to another, women's fiction just isn't flying out the window. Sometimes the Lord tugs at our heart to lean into Him and write in a new direction. Writing to market isn't that bad. We are writers after all, right?

  16. My favorite part of this was the idea of the roots intertwining with each other. In a lonely business, we depend and strengthen each other. What a wonderful thought!

    Great post, Wendy.

  17. Hi Wendy -

    Great post!

    These mighty trees didn't grow overnight, and neither do we. I can also see the sap representing the life of God flowing in and through us.

    Susan :)

  18. Fantasic insights, Wendy. Your blog inspires me!

  19. Yes, that's the kind of vision I want to have! Good post, thanks. :)
    Blessings for the weekend,

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