The Process Behind “Picking Vegetables”


To be perfectly honest, it was the tomato that caught my attention first, a flash of red drawing my distracted mind towards it. The tomato presented a challenge, one that, if overcome, would vastly improve my writing.

One of the most frequent critiques that I receive of my writing is that it lacks description. Therefore, I took the tomato and I described it. Realizing that there was still time to describe it more, I then described its descent into the hand of a small child. From there, I added to the whimsical scene, adding a mother and context. Finally, when my easily sidetracked mind noticed an orange leaf, I decided that it was time to end the vignette by bringing it full circle and describing the harvesting of a carrot.

For me, writing is a completely focused activity. Once I place my hands on a keyboard or my pencil on paper, the world fades away leaving me with my characters. This time, however, was different. Instead of simply hovering in dreamlike state where my characters rule me, I was aware at all times of what was going on around me. Perhaps this was due to the novelty of the location and the easy distraction that it offered. There is, however, one other cause I can attribute my lack of focus to. My preferred genre is generally High Fantasy and writing about a tomato had nothing to do with magic, swordfights or dragons. I had to struggle with the urge to have the tomato spontaneously combust or have the small child charm the tomato into the air. This could have easily led to more brainpower being exerted on restraining my ideas than on the act of focusing.

It is very possible that simply letting my imagination run wild would have led to a very interesting story, but the goal that I worked towards instead helped me with a skill that is lacking within me. Now, I have the ability to describe a tomato a multitude of ways without even using the word tomato, something that will benefit me when trying to describe the exact hue of a dragon’s scales or the speed with which a sword slices through the air.



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