This is what a first draft looks like.
After a forty year hiatus, I took up knitting recently. I have no lofty goals for this new hobby – no wooly cable-knit sweater-cap combos. I just want to create a few handmade scarves to give as gifts to family and friends. Think etsy with training wheels.
A friend who is a gifted knitter spent a morning reacquainting me with the basics. (Thanks, Marie!) The “scarf” above – and I use the term “scarf” loosely here – is my virgin flight into the world of knitting.
You won’t hurt my feelings if you tell me it looks like a nine year-old made it. I was nine the last time I wielded a pair of knitting needles, so my skill development stalled out at that level. But as a fifty year-old woman with a perfectionist streak, knitting (and occasionally purling) row after row of childish, uneven stitches was a mental battle. I was sorely tempted to toss the avocado mess, tell Marie I was too busy to follow through right now, and forget the whole endeavor.
I stuck with it. Visions of delighted people sporting a “Made By Mish” original scarf danced in my head. As I began to discover how to let my fingers slow dance with yarn and needles, I realized that there were no shortcuts to knitting the beautiful scarves I dreamed of giving to others. I had to knit this scary scarfette first in order to find a bit of a groove so I could craft something that didn’t look like an occupational therapy assignment.
You know, I’ve been doing this for years as a writer. I have to write terrible first drafts in order to craft something beautiful. Still. After all these years. There are no shortcuts. I have to write an avocado scarf every time I sit down at the keyboard to tell a story.
How about you? Is there a skill or craft you’re learning or honing in your life? Is this frustrating or freeing in your pursuit of growth in this area?