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Today I’m over at Stitches Thru Time talking about  hand knitted handwarmers.

For the non-knitters stopping by my blog today, I have a little writing analogy.

handwarmer2

photo by Catherine Castle

Writing is a lot like knitting. Every knitted piece starts with a row of basic cast on stitches. From there the knitter builds her piece using two stitches – knit and purl. Add a few more basic stitches such as, bind off, increase a stitch, decrease a stitch, slip a stitch, and grafting two pieces together and so on, anyone can create a piece of knitting, not stellar but decent perhaps. The basic knowledge needed to knit will allow you to complete a beginner piece.

From there, things get more complicated. Easy knitting projects might include repetitive stich patterns, simple color changes and simple shaping and finishing. An intermediate knitted pattern could have a variety of stitches, use double-pointed or circular needles, and more complex shaping and finishing. Experienced knitters can complete projects that include advanced techniques, more intricate stitch patterns and numerous color changes. In other words, they are juggling a lot of balls of yarn and remembering complex stitches every time they sit down to knit.

By the same token anyone who knows their alphabet and basic grammar can write. It won’t be stellar, but it might be passable. As writers grow and develop, they learn the tricks of the writing trade, just like knitters learn more complex stitches. Things like what a power word is. How to back load a sentence so the last word or phrase has punch. We learn how to cull out back story, how to put tension on every page. Where to put in the plot twists that keep the story from sagging.

Knitters who continues to knit will find their lumpy, uneven stitches transform into smoother, more polished creations with practice. Writers’  who continue to learn more than the basics of the writing craft will discover that, one day, their pages have more balanced dialogue, setting, inner monologues, emotions, and sensory elements on each page. And if you are a sparse first draft writer you’ll know how to beef up the pages when necessary.

Practice makes perfect, whether it’s in knitting or writing. Knitters who get into the rhythmic flow of knit a row-purl a row, or knit-one purl-one, discover they don’t have to concentrate as hard to knit. Writers who implement good writing habits discover their first drafts aren’t nearly as bad as their first manuscripts were and that the words come a whole lot easier.

And hey, don’t laugh at my handwarmers. I write a lot better than I knit.

So where are you in your writing? A beginner, experienced, or somewhere in between?

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