Why Writers Are to Writers as Florists Are to Florists

pink rose 2012Years ago, I answered an ad at a florist magazine because I rationalized, “I garden. That’s like being a florist.” I quickly learned I couldn’t be more wrong.

What took a few more years to learn was even among florists, you had “business” florists and “designer” florists. All florists probably consider themselves designers in some form or another, but some florists are more about the art than the practicality of the market sale. The artist florist attracts customers equally devoted to flowers as an art form, or goes broke for art’s sake, or “demeans” herself by limiting her range to the “latest Martha Stewart fad” (Martha Stewart is a hot-button topic for florists, let me tell ya). The “business” florist may appreciate art, but she is usually more interested in catering to the customer’s tastes than her own whimsy. If she’s lucky, she slowly brings her customers around to a finer appreciation of flowers, but she may never practice the outer limits of her art.

When you’ve wandered the writer’s groups long enough, you also may notice the extremes of the writer spectrum. On the one side you have the “artists” who chase the written word in its purest form. On the other side are the “business” folks who write for “a living.” In between are all the boys and girls who aspire to be one or the other.

TT: I’m a fiction writer, so I can only speak to my experience observing other fiction writers. I have no idea if this holds true for the non-fiction writers. Human nature being what it is, I’d bet every group of people finds a way and a reason to look down on another group of people.

The artist writers tend to look down their noses at the business writers for abandoning perfection in search of payment.  The business writers tend to sneer at the artists for their impractical and idealistic views of what works. The newbies watch the two sides battle it out in a virtual tennis match of arguments and put downs. What the artist and the businessman often fail to see is how they’ve moved so far to the right and the left that they eventually stand in exactly the same spot – where love of communication meets desire to communicate.

Here’s the thing about florists: they encourage people to love flowers. Whether they do it by stretching the imagination of how flowers can be presented or by jamming a handful of the smelly beauties in a bud vase, they present flowers in a way that other people like.

For whatever reason a writer writes, he presents writing in ways that other people like. Not all writers will reach all people, but, praise the Lord, that’s why He made so many writers. We will all have our chance to show off, if we play nice, keep stretching and bloom where we’re planted.

Oh, wait. That’s a gardening metaphor.

Um, open where we’re arranged.

There we go.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

3 comments on “Why Writers Are to Writers as Florists Are to Florists

  1. As a writer, and a floral clerk (with some design success) I see both sides of this creativity divide, and I seek balance between both. Cutting your own path between the two is still the best way to mark your individual style.

    Great post, Robynn, thanks!!!

  2. I love the florist metaphor! I think the artist vs. businessperson contrast is found in a fair amount of professions, but you did a very good job with this post. Sharing on Facebook.

  3. Thank you for visiting, everyone. I worked at Florists’ Review for 12 years, so I can’t help but think “what would florists do?” 🙂

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