Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Sole of the Writer
The first stage in any writing project is getting the words down on paper, without regard to form, grammar, punctuation, or anything your inner critic might find to pick apart. This is where the writer dreams with reckless abandon – or in the case of a memoir - remembers without reservation. The sock yarn I chose was a bright multi-colored self-striping yarn, and though we don’t necessarily write only happy, playful stories, the process itself should feel unfettered – like child’s play, never knowing where exactly the story will lead. I call the socks Beautiful Dreamers with a mantra knit into each stitch that said, “wake unto me”.
The second major step in writing involves revising and editing. This is where we examine the holes in our stories, and as editors, poke in a few more before the author hunkers down to the business of repairing the flaws. I chose a lace pattern for the socks, because it’s not my favorite sock to knit. In fact, it can be downright frustrating, much as editing one’s own work can be maddening. But even with a few mistakes when finished, the end result is usually quite beautiful. The socks, of course, had to be red. What else for a queen of editing?
Finally, and particularly in today’s publishing environment, comes the third major component of the writing life – marketing. One cannot get around it. If you’ve ever attended a writers conference, you’ll know what most suitcases contain – dark mix-and-match basics that are wrinkle-free and can be dressed up or down with ease. I thought about knitting socks in black or navy wool, but then found a lovely dark money-green yarn with a few specks of color. The color of money was just too hard to resist, and truly there is nothing wrong with working a healthy payback into your writing equation. The mantra as I knit these? Sell, Mel, Sell. Okay, maybe that could be more poetic. How about “I am a money magnet”? No. Perhaps the words from Fiddler on the Roof: "If money is a curse, may God smite me with it, and may I never recover!" Yes, now that has a nice ring to it.