How Knitting and Writing Are Similar
For those of you who read last week's post by me, you know that I shared something that I do when I'm not writing - knitting! Here are the details on my latest ambitious project. I jumped into this project with a gung-ho attitude, confident in my past successes and then it happened - I hit the wall, scrapped the project and started something else. But an email from my older daughter prompted me to try again. Which then prompted the topic for this week's post. Don't you just love it when that happens? So here it is, my take on how knitting and writing are similar:
1. First and foremost, they are each a craft. Yes, there is some talent involved and some people will excel at their craft more than others, but crafts are a learned thing. I truly believe that, if you can understand and follow directions, you can learn to do just about anything. The key to this is patience and time. Don't expect it to happen overnight. Don't try to take shortcuts. Pay attention to what you are doing now and don't focus on the finished project and what to do with it then. That's how mistakes are made. Stay in the moment, pay attention to the craft, and the future will take care of itself.
2. The next similarity is simple: They each begin with an idea upon which the foundation is built. For this knitting project, I wanted to make a hat, so I searched for a pattern and when I found the one I wanted to try, I started to gather together the supplies I would need to accomplish it - knitting needles, cable needle, stitch counter and, of course, yarn. When I write, I decide which idea I want to tackle and gather the tools I need to accomplish that - computer, notebooks, research, and the germ of an idea. This brings us to:
3. The beginning. In knitting, you begin by casting on the stitches you need to build the foundation of your project and then the first row is the establishing pattern - the setup. In writing, you decide where you want to start your story, then you lay your foundation with a hook that will draw your readers in and establish the story - the setup. In the beginning, it might not seem like much and you might look at your project and wonder how you're going to get it from this starting point to the fabulous end product you see (either on the pattern or in your head, depending upon whether you're knitting or writing), but by the time you reach the middle, you will begin to see a clearer pattern/path develop. All you need to do is press on through the oft-times difficult middle to get to the more difficult end.
4. Speaking of the end, sometimes it doesn't come out quite the way you expected. Case in point: While knitting my hat last week, I hit the wall - the one where I realized, after several rounds of knitting, that the project was not coming out the way it looked in the picture. While doing the decreases to shape the crown, the pattern of the flowers was completely lost. Stitches no longer aligned with one another. I kept on going for awhile, thinking maybe it wouldn't be that noticeable once I tied up all the loose ends (literally), but then I stopped and decided not to continue for one reason: It would be noticeable - to me. Being a perfectionist, I felt that I just could not slap it together like that, even if it was only for my pleasure. So I tore it completely apart and actually started to make another hat with the yarn. But then I got the email from my daughter and she had checked out my post and was really excited about seeing the finished project. So I decided to give it another try. And I pulled apart the other hat (it wasn't the right yarn for it, anyway) and started again. Only this time, I am paying closer attention to the pattern to figure out where I went wrong. How does this relate to writing? One word: Revision. How many writers have gotten to the end of their story and realized that some of it didn't gel but tried to finish it anyway, didn't like the result and abandoned the project? Only to revisit it after some thought, go through it with a fine-tooth comb to figure out where it went wrong and finish it properly? Thank heavens for second drafts!
5. The end product. If you follow through, pay attention to the details, persevere, and just keep at it, in the end you will have a project you are proud of - one you might even debut in public!
So there you have it, how knitting and writing are so similar. With each one, you can make a whole lot of something out of nothing!