Poinsettias are beautiful flowers at Christmas. Their brightly colored leaves are so lovely. After Christmas is over, well, they start losing their leaves and color. Sometimes parts die, and to save the plant you have to cut off all the dead parts. And they turn into spindly little twigs, not so pretty—but after that pruning the lovely plant re-emerges not the same as before, maybe perhaps not as flamboyant with color, but lovely just the same. More importantly, by taking off the dead weight the roots grow, and you end up with a bigger plant, healthier, stronger–one that can last. This reminds me of a passage from Jeremiah 17:8.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters,that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Often when we write there’s this flamboyant start, but as we continue, we start losing something, some sparkle. That’s the time stop look at what’s wrong, find that dead weight and prune. Nurture the roots keep them healthy–and stories will stay healthy. When times of drought come, for example when you work with a critique group. Even in the drought your story will then flourish and you’ll reach that ultimate goal, yielding fruit.