V here! Today we are welcoming my fellow Musa Calliope author, Rhea Rhodan, who is going to talk about knitting as a writing tool. Y’all may not know this, but I knit almost every day, so I was thrilled to hear about the subject she chose for this post! Welcome Rhea!
While thinking about how to write this blog (and knitting on a pair of socks), I kept coming back to metaphors. There is so much about life that reminds me of knitting. When it goes smoothly, all the little stitches line up on the needles like appointments on our calendars, steps to accomplishing our goals, sentences that make up stories. Then there are the tangled yarns: disruptions to our orderly schedules, mistakes that we can undo, and those we can’t (I dare you to try ripping back brushed mohair). And the projects we’re better off abandoning—think ponchos, and some marriages. You get the idea.
It’s not just the metaphors, though. The physical act of knitting (simple knitting, not to be confused with heirloom shawls or entrelac) engages one’s attention, but not their thoughts. It’s a soothing, rhythmic activity that has been called Zen-like. Which just happens to be the perfect state of mind to work out elements of a plot, a stuck bit of dialogue, the most satisfying—or most suspenseful way—to end a scene. Again, you can see where I’m going with this.
There are a couple of important considerations which happen to mirror each other (like knit and purl). Getting caught up in the knitting won’t further your story, so the project has to be something that can be picked up and dropped frequently, and without worry. Which is exactly the kind of knitting that is conducive to writing. For myself, this is socks knit on two circular needles, two at a time, toe up. I work on another pair when the first pair needs heels or toes, because that part of it requires more concentration. For you, it might be a stockinette scarf, or any project with a large swath of mindless knitting. It’s also a great excuse to have multiple projects on your needles, as you’ll always need to have simple knitting available.
The first story I wrote developed while I was knitting. I finally had to put the needles down and write the story before we all starved to death and I ran out of yarn. It’s no accident that a large number of my heroines are knitters, either, including the one in my recently published, slightly paranormal romance, Finding Grace.
If you’re more of a reader than a writer, you might enjoy knitting to audio books, bearing in mind that they are as different from the written word as movies are. For example, slower passages are difficult to skim (as are gory details), and love scenes that read great in print may sound painfully cheesy on audio. Much depends on the narrator and your tastes. I listen to different genres than I read. Mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult stories are my cup of knitting and listening tea. For print, I prefer mostly romances (of many genres), an occasional horror, a rare book of “literature,” and regular doses of non-fiction—not that I don’t mix it up now and then just for fun. Of course, you can make the knitting more challenging when listening than writing (and definitely more challenging than when watching TV), but be careful. A really good audio book can make for some severe knitting disasters.
Rhea Rhodan resides in Minnetonka, Minnesota and has been telling herself stories since long before she could write. She attended the University of Minnesota with a focus on Journalism, then Brown Institute for Broadcast Journalism. After many adventures, misadventures, and a couple of short marriages, she found the love of her life in Regensburg, Germany, and has been living happily ever after since.
She welcomes feedback and fan mail :>). You can join her on Facebook, too. Rhea is always happy to meet new friends.
Her current release, Finding Grace is available from Musa Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance ebooks, and other fine e-tailers. You can find an excerpt of the first chapter on her web site.