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What trimming my bush taught me about writing

I have a giant rhododendron in front of my house. It has grown so high that the top leaves reach up to the second story. The back is touching the house and, when it’s windy, the branches scrape at the window making a creepy sound I’ve only otherwise heard in horror movies. It was time to prune it.

I cut a path so I could squeeze between the bush and the mailbox. I shimmied toward the back with my shears and chopped away until I could reach my arms inside and thin this thing out. It turns out, the branches all start in the middle, shoot up or out until it reaches sunshine, then grows leaves. Finding the start of each branch was they key to trimming the tentacles that topped out at double my height.

It seemed impossible, when I started, to trim those tallest limbs. But by digging in and finding where they started and clipping from there, I was able to take out some of the unnecessary bulk. And so it goes with editing. Sometimes you need to do a lot more trimming than you’d like. Sometimes you have to dig into the middle to find where the offshoots are coming from.

Hey, did you notice we started a new monthly nonfiction feature? If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your writing, find an idea this week, or try a new literary device, it’s a great place to start. This month we’re looking at irony. Take a few minutes to pop over there and read up on this fun device. There’s a prompt (as always, totally optional) in there, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

How can I ever repay you?

This optional prompt, which also serves as the ultimate question for the microstory challenge opening Wednesday, is here to serve as your inspiration for your nonfiction submission. Already have your own story thought up? No problem! The prompt is only there if you need it.

Want more info?

Is this your first time here? Check out Sunday’s post which kicked off the week here at yeah write. If you don’t think you can remember to check back every Sunday, you can sign up for our email blasts directly to your inbox. Our email subscribers can also join us in the yeah write coffeehouse at its new home on Facebook.

If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.

Did you happen to end up here because you suddenly saw yeah write in your stats? Sometimes members of our community spot excellent writing and they send those posts on over to us. We hope you don’t mind. Take a look around and get to know our community. We’re sure you’ll be happy here.

Have questions you can’t find the answer to by poking around the site? Email us or find us on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll happily help you out.

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Submit to the yeah write #234 nonfiction challenge

The yeah write #234 weekly writing challenge is now open for nonfiction: personal essays, creative opinion, mostly true stories based on actual events. You can check out the submission guidelines and join us with your essay using the link below.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

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