Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

“He stopped, pausing to arrange his words like an ikebana expert with his flowers, shifting, bending, adding, and taking away to achieve the results he desired.” ― Twan Eng Tan, The Gift of Rain

Elisa’s Thought for the Week:

One of my favourite daily Instagram creators is Tom Read Wilson, an adorably lovely Englishman who regularly posts a Word of the Day.

Aside from being a lover of all things words and etymology (how many people do you know who kept a word journal as a youth?), I also love his tone and delivery — which are like sweet honey dripping down a comb into hot tea.

I chose this particular Word of the Day because it is a concept I would love for more writers to learn about.


As Tom explains, ikebana is the “ancient Japanese art of flower arrangement.”

But ikebana is so much more than traditional Western flower arranging, where the focus is on the showy blooms and bouquets.

Just think of how many flower arrangements you’ve gotten, that you’ve thrown into any old vase you have kicking around your home.

Ikebana is a holistic approach to flower arranging, one that honours both the life and the beauty of the plants.

What I love about the art of ikebana, when compared to writing, is that it is quite austere and simple.

But it focuses on the whole of the flower.


Ikebana arrangements often feature stems and leaves, mossy undergrowth, and carefully (I’m talking hours and days deliberation) chosen vases and pots — in addition to the flowers.

With all that could be included in an ikebana arrangement, one would think they would be huge and overwhelming.

Yet it manages to show the whole story with only a few details.

How could that apply to your writing? What full stories are you trying to jam too many petals and ornaments into, that could be shown more simply with the most important (but still beautiful) details?

And seriously, go subscribe to Tom’s Instagram for these Word of the Day videos. They’re like nectar for the word lover’s soul.

What You Missed on Craft Your Content …

Our articles have the same mission we do — to help you to make your own words even better!

  • As writers, sometimes our words fall flat, read dull, or just don’t seem to gel. Good writing is, well, good. Not terrific, or amazing. Writer James Njoya shares how to take your words from bland to magical.

  • From the Archives (August 2019): There are several parts of the writer’s process that, though less tangible, are just as important as the actual activity of writing. Author Chris Angelis explores the philosophy of writing and how our words interact with and are influenced by the world.

In Other Reading This Week …

Need more insights and inspiration for your writing and mindset?

  • Whatever form they take, it’s common to urge ourselves to “snap out of it” or look forward to feeling “okay” again during breakdowns. In the marginalian, writer Maria Popova analyzes author Alain de Botton’s investigation on the myth of normalcy, and just how important it is to break down.

  • Libraries play a vital role in our history and culture—preserving information. In this post by TIME, Internet Archive founder Kahle Brewster shares about the importance of preserving free access to independent libraries—and what current information-right clashes between libraries and the publishing industry might mean in 25 years.

  • Would you live your life, exactly as it has been so far, all over again? Writer Chris Guillebeau reflects on a similar question by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and explains three ways we may answer it.

  • Some tips for writers are really useful. Others are less useful, toeing the line of narrow-minded. Writer (and editorial advisor for CYC) Yi Shun Lai shares how advice on the perfect working space may be elitist and how some tips actually gate-keep what “normal” writing looks like.

  • Ikebana, (you may recognise this term from my little essay above) also known as kadō, is the Japanese art of arranging flowers. The word translates to “making flowers alive.” You can learn a bit more, if you are curious, in this Wikipedia article.

Weekly Writing Tip …

A quick chance to learn from the masters.

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

For the Upcoming Week …

Because we all need a good chuckle to start things off right!

“Oh, nice, it’s warmed just ri— never mind.”

(Credit: Nathan W. Pyle)

Till next time!