Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Creativity Tips: Cut the Knot

When it comes to writing, I know what to do when I hit a knotty problem -- a phrase that refuses to work, a word that doesn't fit, an idea that isn't clear. I fall back on the writer's mantra:

You own the sentence. It doesn't own you.

I stop trying to fix what isn't working. I start a new sentence.

However, I am far more comfortable with writing than I am with knitting. On the current scarf attempt, I recently hit the mother lode of all knots. What was once yarn became a relentlessly twisted wreck of unforgiving fiber.

Being a newbie knitter and a psychotic over-achiever, I refused to admit defeat. I spent hours trying to untie the knots. Hours.

Then, I finally realized: I own the yarn. It doesn't own me.

I cut the cord. Literally. Cut the knot out, tied the yarn back together, and took off knitting again. Now, this may not be the approved approach in knitting, but this is a scarf -- not a nuclear power plant. One glitch won't end the world.

The next time you hit a creative roadblock, remember: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If that doesn't work, cut the knot.


Leslie said...

That's right! You are the boss of your knitting (and writing).

Mike Brown said...

A lesson learned in 7th grade science class: we were doing an experiment with a measuring device that had to be zeroed before each trial with some type of liquid (I think it was it was glycerine). My partner and I spent what seemed like the entire hour trying to get the balance arm zeroed with just the right amount of liquid. It was only in our last moment of desparation as the class was about to end that it finally occurred to us that the scale we were trying to balance to was on a card that moved up and down so that it would go where the arm of the balance was and not the other way around. Own the sentence, own the yarn, own the experiment. It's all the same.