I had a realization the other day. It’s 2014. Twenty-freakin’-fourteen! Well, duh. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that by now. And, despite my seeming disbelief, I know it too. But it did make think about how much my life has changed in the last few years. Ten years ago, in 2004, I had mostly given up writing. When I say mostly, what I mean is – I was not actually clacking away at a keyboard. Instead, I was berating myself for being a loser because I couldn’t complete a story. I had a few half-finished or sort of done, but awful, manuscripts hidden in binders under my bed (and yes, they were literally under there, collecting dust bunnies.) I was paralyzed with doubt and indecision. I was totally clueless about what to do. Should I start another book? No. Because I already had too many incomplete drafts. So, I did nothing and worried. Because that is always so much more productive (not really). My solution: teach myself to knit and crochet. Yup. Had nothing to do with writing but it was another life-long goal of mine. It all started when I six years old and my great aunts tried to teach me to crochet. Total disaster. I couldn’t hold the yarn right. Couldn’t make a chain, let allow an actual stitch. I just didn’t get it. No matter how hard they tried to implant their skills into my brain, I sucked at it. I was a loser/failure <cue sad trombone sound> I had another chance to learn crochet in Girl Scouts. Still a disaster but I did manage to make a curly worm bookmark (very lumpy and it didn’t twist properly). It’s now tucked away in my hope chest. For years and years, not knowing how to crochet ate away at my sub-conscience. Why couldn’t I figure it out? Is there something wrong with me? Ummm. Kind of like my ability to finish a book (that didn’t suck). I hate not being able to do things. The last straw: when I couldn’t finish drafting yet another novel to my satisfaction, I decided I was going to succeed at something. Damn it. 2004 was the year I went to Michael’s, bought a skein of Red Heart yarn (bright red) and two books – “I Taught Myself to Knit” and “I Taught Myself to Crochet” – and, by golly, that is exactly what I did. I learned!! I made stuff. It didn’t suck once I got the hang of it. As soon as I mastered the basics, I decided I was knitting in the round. I wanted gloves. So I made them (apparently most beginners don’t go for gloves, but whatever). Needless, to say, friends and family were inundated with crocheted and knitted “gifts” from me. Yet, the entire time, a little voice in my head nagged at me to get writing. Eventually, the little voice won out. But not for another five years. You know what? It doesn’t matter. In the end, I finished a book (Ascension), then another (Mystic Ink), then sold it. Then wrote more and sold more. I credit the little voice. But I also believe that by pushing my boundaries and trusting myself to learn a brand new skill, it gave me the confidence to consider myself a “real” writer and get busy. And, yes, I still knit and crochet. This is my latest sock:
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Yarn is magic. No, that’s probably not the answer. But listening to the little voices in your head, yeah, that must be it!