In January, I started and finished my very first real crochet project — a lap-sized blanket of soft, chunky yarn (that looks deceptively like my dog when she has sticks and leaves stuck to her fuzzy coat). I also got this close to finishing a revise-on-my-own-while-I-wait-for-my-editorial-letter round with my manuscript, MIRACULOUS.
Since last summer, it has been my monthly goal to finish this round of edits. Yes, you read that correctly. I made great gains at my writing retreat in the fall, only to spend a solid three weeks stuck in one chapter. I’ve circled back to the beginning of the manuscript again and again to see how best to push to the end (because I solidly believe most questions I have about a piece of writing can be solved by returning to the text).
Man, it hasn’t been what I’ve planned. Wow, I’ve learned a lot about writing this particular book.
That’s my writing life, pretty much, in a nutshell.
I’ve always wanted to learn some sort of handiwork, and at the end of last year I settled on crochet. My mom gave me a bag of hooks and yarn for Christmas,* and armed with a How-To-Crochet booklet and plenty of YouTube videos, I dove in.
It has been SO MUCH FUN.
Unlike writing, a crochet project progresses in measurable ways. Much like running, it’s steady rhythm has felt restorative. Using my hands lets my brain go on autopilot and gives my mind the space and time it needs to do its behind-the-scenes creative work.
If you are a writer, have you found a creative outlet unrelated to your work?
*My younger son took one look and said, “Mom, are you learning how to be a granny?” I can tell you he now thinks my blanket is pretty darn cool.
Sue Long says
Hahaha! Your son! Very funny. I could describe my writing life in the same nutshell, Caroline. As for creative outlets, I went as far as ordering a really cute (it’s a lamb!), really challenging (as far as I can tell without having removed it from its see-through packaging) needlepoint kit I saw advertised in the New Yorker and which reminded me of the bottle lamb I raised in 4-H long ago. Now the lamb stares at me from a shelf in my writing room. His warm lamby gaze has turned accusatory. Maybe if I turn to Youtube for some instruction…or just finish this manuscript instead.
I hope you and the lamb reach a wonderful truce (which includes giving him a fleece when you and the manuscript are ready).
Jerilyn Winstead says
YES absolutely! I’m learning to spin my own yarn and also try to knit a little bit each day. I do all sorts of other art – visual arts (painting), photo art, acting, now filming & editing my new YouTube channel (Burrowgroves School of Magic), sewing, costuming, etc. I noticed that the more I’ve become a regular novelist and creative writer, the less I’m doing some of my crafting, as writing fulfills some of my creative outlet. I love larping (live action role play) as a completely different outlet, and now I’m looking into getting side work as an artist and fashion designer. It helps me so much to switch between projects, esp if I get stuck on one. But I love writing novels most of all! You have an awesome blog, I love it. My agent is pitching my debut novel, “Encyclopedeia Magica: Vol 1 – Alchemy”
Oh, wow that’s cool. You have a whole world of creativity before you! Here’s to an editor connecting with your manuscript and much writing satisfaction ahead.
Irene Latham says
Go you with the crochet, learning, and revising! Learning the cello has been such a beautiful thing in my life… I”m five years in now, and I see all kinds of ways it impacts my writing life. I’ve also done all sorts of fabric arts over the years, but these days it’s writing and celloing! (Like you, LOTS of learning with both!) Looking forward to MIRACULOUS! xo
I love that you’ve picked up an instrument, Irene. That is the coolest!
Uma Krishnaswami says
As you know, knitting is my random brain soothing activity. I firmly believe that it helps me revise: https://umakrishnaswami.org/2020/02/25/knitting-away-the-symptoms-of-imposter-syndrome/
I really love the idea of knitting while revising as one way to keep yourself from quick changes. Sharing your post with a collection of writing links soon!