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Knitting is Not Writing

Posted on Jul 22, 2010 in Writing | 0 comments

I keep my knitting next to my bed. On mornings when I’m not in a rush to get out of the house, I’ll stay in bed for a few minutes and knock off a couple of rows on my current project.

Sweaters are not small feats for  amateur knitters like myself. A single row can easily take at least 5 minutes to complete, and there are many, many rows. For this reason, I tend to avoid large projects altogether.

Yet, this method has proven quite effective and gratifying.  I get to watch my sweater grow incrementally while I wait for my coffee to brew.  It’s a slow but steady process that I give myself patience to watch unfold.

I enjoy this tiny march to an end point.  Each day, a new, perfect row appears.  I can turn off my brain and watch the stitches add up.  It’s a simple pattern, so little backtracking is necessary to remind me where I left off. The pattern is there, it’s not going anywhere, and I can follow along at my leisure.  I’m not very attached to the outcome- while I’d like to add a hand-knit sweater to my wardrobe, my reputation, ego, and career aren’t reliant on the completion of the sweater.  No one in my community is asking “When can I see the sweater?”

You see where I’m going with this?

Patience is a pre-requisite for being a writer, this I have learned.  You wait for everything, and most of it I can handle.  Lunatic Fringe is currently in the hands of readers and a publisher, and I’m waiting for feedback from them all.  I’m okay with this wait, because I know when I’ll be done waiting.  It also doesn’t bother me because I understand how the professional side of the art business works.  Agents and publishers are deluged with throngs of authors trying to make it inside the gate.  I’m one of the thousands of voices, and it’ll take time for my turn to come up.

Where I lack patience, however, is with myself.  Generally speaking, I’m pretty good at giving myself room to grow, to learn and to make mistakes.  Yet, with this book, I’m upgrading from kid-gloves to studded gloves.  I’ve been reconfiguring scenes and kicking myself for making dumb mistakes.  I know it’s unfair- there’s nowhere I would have learned all this except for passively through the media I consume. Being an over-achiever isn’t easy in this line of work.

For this reason, I’m giving myself another one of Merit Badger’s badges.  It’s a little part self-congratulatory and a little part reminder.    I’m a big proponent of visual reminders – all my tattoos are designed that way- so hopefully seeing this little badge will help me stay on track with cutting myself some slack while plugging away.

What about you guys?  Where are you patient?  Where do you need some work?


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