I knit. I knit quite complicated things that take up my evenings for weeks on end.
And I love it.
I also write books, quite long ones, which take up my days for months on end and I find both processes have remarkably similar properties. They both involve yarns for a start. They are also both processes which need application, dedication and patience. Also, with both, if you make a mistake you have to go back and unpick your work, because the faults cannot be rectified once it is finished and you – and everyone else – will notice the errors for ever. Furthermore, knitting only consists of two stitches, plain and purl, and a few variations such as winding the wool round the needle twice (to make holes) and methods by which you can increase and decrease the number of stitches you are working with. Writing books involves everyday vocabulary and creating a story is a simple matter of putting the words down, one after another on a page to create a believable story about characters that resonate with the reader. Neither activity is particularly complicated but you do have to have the right set of skills if you are going to wind up with a satisfactory product at the end.
However, I’d never dream of knitting something without a pattern to start with. But when I write a book, I almost never plan out the whole thing in advance. I know it would stop me from making mistakes, from going up blind alleys with a faulty plot twist, and yet – and I am just starting my twentieth book – I still only have the vaguest idea of how I am going to get from page one to the final chapter. And hopefully, as with my knitting, I’ll have enough of a yarn to finish the project.