Monday, 29 July 2013

How Knitting is like Writing

by Dawn Torraville-Cairns

I write, for the most part, paranormal romance. One of the things I like about writing is how everything else prepares you to be a writer. For example, knitting.

When I first discover an interesting knitting pattern (story), I am so happy and excited to get started. NOW. I lay out the pattern (story), pick out just the right needles (outline if I'm lucky, theme if I'm not), and go shopping for the perfect wool (characters).

I'll stand in the wool store, looking for hours for just the right one that I need. I search for the right texture (names), thickness (character flaws and quirks), and hope I get the right yardage (backgrounds) that I need for my pattern (story).

Then the harder work begins. No longer imagining the results, I start knitting (writing) the pattern (story). I'm having fun. I'm being productive.

About half-way through, the unthinkable happens. The pattern (story) hits a snag. Maybe, I'm using the wrong needles (theme/outline), maybe the pattern (story) is misprinted (plot holes), or maybe I'm just not following the instructions (from the characters) properly. I get frustrated. Annoyed. And then, sometimes, I stop.

But more recently, I've started giving myself a external reason to finish (deadline). Telling myself that I want it done by a certain date doesn't work. I need a concrete, people-waiting-on-me, reason. The finished pattern (story) may not be the best, or the prettiest. But it's done.

Then I find a new pattern (story)...

What other activities remind you of writing?

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  1. Thanks for posting, Dawn. Love the knitting analogy. Doing jigsaws, painting and even every day chores can have a "writing analogy" to them as well. Even laundry. LOL

  2. Great comparison, Dawn! I'm a big knitter too, although it's been put on the back burner the past several months. Must be time to dig the needles out again. :)

  3. And once in a while it all unravels. And you cuss a bit. But a day or two later you're ready to pick up the stitches.

  4. Dawn,

    I love your comment that everything outside of writing prepares you for writing. That is so true. If I were to use an analogy, it would be that gardening is like writing. Tilling the soil (making a clean start), planting seeds (creating an outline or major scenes), daily checks and regular maintenance (butt in chair, hands on keys), protection from pests (get rid of those distractions!), and then the harvest (evocative scenarios, gripping conflict, memorable characters all entwined). The results of both are lush and ripe for the picking.

  5. Heidi's right about it unraveling and that happens more often than we'd like. But there are patterns to that unraveling too, if we look closely.
    Like holes that widen and runs that go on and on...
    I think writing's also like painting a picture. Each part of the canvas deserves attention, sometimes to varying degrees, and once in a while everything works and you produce something lovely to the eye. When it doesn't, it can be really ugly until we take the time to touch it up and add the defining lines or until we paint over the whole thing and start again.
    I'm struggling with a painting of a huge raven. And like writing, just to finish is one of the goals. Some days I'm afraid to do anything, in case I damage it beyond repair. And I feel like that some days as I sit to write. Go figure.

  6. Great analogy, Dawn! Writing sometimes reminds me of pregnancy and childbirth. ;)