If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting The Creative Juices Flowing

Yesterday, a reader asked me about how I think up ideas for my blog posts. (Not really. That was a made up question. I just wanted to answer it.) It started me thinking about creativity and how to get the creative juices going.

I read something a long time ago, I think it was a quote from Isaac Asimov, about how he gets in the mood to write. He said "I put my fingers on the typewriter keys and start typing." It's funny, because it's so obvious.

Still, sometimes I find myself a little bored with what I'm doing. The story I'm writing will suddenly not be so great, or the knitting will become tedious. Sometimes, even my dreams will become boring to me. (Another house with hidden rooms? Oh joy.)

But I think Asimov (or whoever said it) was absolutely right. You can't let yourself become paralyzed with boredom or indecision. Just put your fingers to the laptop, or the yarn on the needle, or the paintbrush to the canvas, spade to the garden, drumsticks to the drum, stylus to the pad... whatever. Just do it.

And if, as you are doing that thing, you decide you don't like what you're doing, mix it up a little. Maybe that hat needs a stripe? Maybe your story's not about a cop, but a nurse? Maybe you put a little surprise cream filling inside your cupcakes today? Or maybe you just start a whole new project that you are excited about? But what you don't do is think yourself into inaction.

Because, let's face it. We have a limited amount of time in this plane of existence. And, if my childhood Sunday School teachers are to be believed, when we pass into the next life, we won't care about things like that. (So apparently there's no knitting in Heaven.) You don't want to waste the time you have by not doing things you love.

And, just the act of doing things makes you better at doing them. Remember what your mom always said, Practice makes perfect. So, just by knitting--and maybe throwing in a random pattern or stripe--I become a better knitter. Just by writing--and adapting my writing to what is interesting to me--I become a better writer.

Sure, you might end up with a closet full of UFOs. You might have the first three chapters of ten novels on your computer. You might have a couple of half-filled sketch books or songs with half-written lyrics. But you know what? You might end up with a couple of really nice FOs. Or one really good story with the best parts of those other ten incorporated into it. Or a song that finally says what you want to say.

Will your project be wonderful, exciting, practical, artistic, beautiful? I don't know. I do know it will never be anything if you don't do it.


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