I went off yesterday for lunch with a friend, who very patiently listened to my rambling fears about the book, and finally said, “You know, I think most of your fears will be solved by just sitting down and writing.” And you know, he was right? All the questions about format and so on are just a matter of writing it one way, and if it doesn’t work, writing it another way. Write lots of drafts and throw most of it away! Try it with a first person narrative! Try it in present tense! Try it as a bunch of anecdotes, try it as a thematic structure!
It’s so silly since I know this lesson very well in textiles, but had forgotten it completely when it came to writing. The only way to learn something is to give up worrying about doing it wrong, and simply do it–dye lots of samples, and don’t worry about the ones that come out blotchy. Start knitting it, and if it doesn’t come out as you planned, adapt it or throw it away, but don’t kick yourself over it! Keep playing with it until you’re satisfied.
So this will be my new approach towards writing the book.
I have gotten quite sick of revising Chapter Three, and have started laying out the foundations for Chapter One (Day One) instead. Most of it is in snatches like [intro Steffi here] and [route description here], but that’s OK–it’s just the skeleton, it will be filled in later.
I’ve also been having nightmarish thoughts about, “if I publish this, will anyone want to read this??” Which is apparently another common fear of the aspiring writer. Real writers know that virtually no one will want to read their book–most people don’t read anyhow–but that doesn’t bother them. They write it for the people who will want to read it.
I haven’t reached that level of sophistication, but I figure I’ll just keep writing.
Anyway, that is my lesson for the day: write like you knit. Henceforth I shall view chapter drafts as test swatches. 🙂
Speaking of knitting, I have been swatching out the tiger shawl, and am not terribly happy with it. The little bobbles are just vanishing into the lace (as I half-expected) but I haven’t worked out how to make bigger bobbles just yet. Would anyone care to enlighten me? I have been using (k1,p1,k1,p1) knots, but would like to enlarge that into a real bobble.
Oddly, the same lesson seems to apply in writing as in knitting: I design a lot better when I am designing only for myself, and not thinking about what someone else (a judge, other knitters) might have to say about it. It’s hard to maintain that kind of creative focus while worrying about what other people think.