Today’s post is inspired by a simple but profound statement I heard on a recent podcast: Don’t focus on the fruit and ignore the root.
At the time, I was busy jumping between several writing projects. Updating an older manuscript to submit to agents. Revising the sequel to my latest release. Brainstorming the last book in that series. Reading a book for endorsement. Preparing lessons for a middle school creative writing class. Helping my critique partner update one of her older manuscripts for inclusion in a collection.
Busy, busy, busy. My days were consumed with never-ending to-do lists and trying to prioritize multiple important tasks. My focus was on the fruit in my life. What people would see. What I could hold in my hands or check off my list. It was all about my performance and looking good to outsiders watching my writing career.
But (OUCH!), I was ignoring the root. Like a plant, tree, or grape vine needs a steady supply of water and nutrients from the soil to maintain the plant’s overall health, promote growth, and fuel the production of juicy fruit…well, I needed to pay attention to the input in my own life.
Like the image above (one of many lessons in my devotional, Be Like a Tree), fruit happens when we stay connected to the vine…and when the vine is fed by the roots. It’s a simple matter of input and output. What goes in, comes out. What you plant, you’ll harvest. If I wanted to weave truth into my stories, I needed to digest that same truth personally. If I wanted extra creativity, I needed to spend more time with the Creator and exploring His Creation to capture new inspiration. If I wanted to prepare a professional proposal, I needed to know the current trends and releases in my genre.
I can’t expect to sit down at the computer to write without priming the pump or filling up the tank. By focusing only on the fruit, I could find myself sputtering to a stop, suddenly without fuel because I ignored the warning signs.
But the good news is that by paying attention to the roots in my life, regularly feeding myself the proper nutrition (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), staying hydrated and refreshed, and maybe even churning up the soil to let a little fresh air in…well, then the fruit just happens.
And that story my heart can’t wait to tell comes spilling out onto the page.
What about you? What fruit is happening in your life? How much attention do you pay to the roots? What small changes can you make today that would make a big difference later?