The seed catalogs have come out and this morning my wife and I were picking out our choices for the garden this year. In the past, we received two or three catalogs, now we get more than a dozen and scour through them like kids picking out presents for Christmas.
It’s also the time to go through our old seed packs and toss out the empties and the ones that didn’t perform or we didn’t like. Its kinda sad to see those old packs that held so much promise being cast aside for newer, younger, sexier seeds. I want to take them all, save them for a warm spring day and scatter them in an empty field somewhere to give them a chance. But I can’t worry about every unsown seed any more than I can worry about every story idea.
I sometimes get the germ of a story, or I’ll get a great prompt that calls out for something…grand in scope if not in length. I belong to a flash writing group that puts a prompt up one day and the stories have to be posted within five days. Five days! I can barely get an idea for a character in five days let alone a full story. But I manage and sometimes turn out some pretty good flashes along the way.
What this taught me was the concept of taking the seed of an idea and nurturing it. I’d have to give it enough attention (time) and care (brainstorming) to live. If something sprouted, I fed it scenes and plotlines. I put it under the light to see if it had holes in it.
But sometimes an idea, like a seed, simply needs time to germinate. But if a seed doesn’t sprout in a few weeks I don’t keep waiting. In plant again.
I’ve got a lot of story ideas, some that go back for years. If I keep hanging on to seeds that don’t grow, I may not give the ones that will grow the attention and care they deserve. So while I’m tossing real seeds into the trash, I’m casting the old ideas out of my mind.
And you know, those ideas make for great story prompts.