Right after Thanksgiving my granddaughters once again helped me decorate my Christmas tree. This experience was far more enjoyable then the first time I allowed them to help me. The girls are older, and their patience and ability have grown too. When they first started helping they were four, three and one. There were lots of clumped ornaments on the lower branches. Fights over who got to hang the pretty ones. It was a hard-fought battle of patience on my part to help them get the job done. This year frustration turned to joy as the girls work together to do a good job.
I instructed them to take their time and fill in all wholes on the tree, making sure each ornament is nicely displayed. It was a delight to watch them do just that. They asked my opinion on where something should go and helped each other adjust the ornaments. Grampa remarked on how beautiful it was, which was a first. He stays far away from the fray and helps me move any ornaments in a clutter later. And it does look lovely thanks to my talented granddaughters.
Gazing at our tree I am reminded of my writing journey. I hurried to get my first novel written. In five weeks, I had 100,000 words down. My granddaughters use to grab as many ornaments as they could and place them all in one spot.
A few months of editing with a friend who wasn’t a professional editor and I thought it was an award winner. My granddaughters insisted they knew best how to decorate. They got mad if I correct them.
Ten years later after learning to patiently rework sentences and fill in the holes in my stories with the advice of critique partners and editors I finally had a novel that was beautiful.
Like my grandchildren who’ve matured in their tree decorating abilities, I’ve matured in my writing craft. I continue to fix POV errors and rewrite weak paragraphs and eliminate weasel words. I’m on my fourth novel and much wiser to the time it takes to craft a saleable book that holds the reader’s interest and garners positive reviews.
Next year the girls will be on their own. Their family will be moving into their own home and decorating a tree of their own. They have the skills to do a wonderful job. Yet they will help each other and seek their parent’s counsel as they complete the project.
As I work on my current WIP and move on to the next I’ll continue to grow in my ability to create stories. Like my Christmas tree decorations, I hope readers will consider my stories beautiful.
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