Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Writing Lessons from Knitting

The QueryTracker blog had this neat post a few weeks ago comparing writing to knitting. As you may or may not know, I design and sell knitting patterns when I'm not writing, so this was right up my alley!

Sarah Pinneo, the author, makes the point that knitted sweaters begin by looking terrible, just like first drafts. I totally agree. Most of my knitted projects look like this when they're first started:

Yucky knitting

But I would even take it a step further. Yes, the sweater starts to look like an actual sweater once you're up to the sleeves. Yes, people stop asking you if you're making mittens for giants. If you're lucky, people even stop telling you sweaters can be bought at Wal-Mart for fifteen dollars, in a tone of voice that clearly says they are wondering why you do not know this already.

But the truth is, until you finish the whole thing, sew in the ends, soak it in water, and pat it into shape to dry, it looks pretty much like crap.

See where I'm going with this?

revised text

Yep, I'm harping on about revision again. The importance of revising your work can't be overstated (especially in the aftermath of NaNoWriMo!). I have been going through old manuscripts recently, and realizing each one should have been put aside and revised several more times before I sent it out. The draft needs to be patted into shape just like the sweater does.

When I design sweaters, there's a lot of revision involved. Sometimes my basic concept doesn't work at all. Sometimes I have to take out parts of the design and completely redo them--and it's just as painful as  highlighting that chapter or scene and hitting delete.

BUT... the product is always better, just like it is with knitting. The end goal is what's important. I always want to send my manuscript out right NOW, but I'm going to take a cue from my knitting design and remind myself that no one wants to see my lumpy, misshapen, fresh-off-the-needles draft. It's worth the time to make it as good as I know it can be.

1 comment:

  1. What a great comparison! Now to get back to knitting. I mean writing. Since I don't know how to knit, I'm going to crochet this story. I think the metaphor will hold up. :D