Knit 1, Write 2

January 25 for my last post? And now it’s Feb 6th… my, how time flies when there’s a deadline looming!

There’s not a lot of news to report from here, since my butt is firmly in my chair, day after day after day, gradually making progress on book 3. Some days are good, some days are frustrating…. at some stage in my writing career, I may actually learn the lesson that those frustrating days could well be a sign that I’m approaching a scene the wrong way. Yes, 2,000+ words went out the window the other day when I realised, after three days of struggling with a scene, that it was simply all wrong and needed deleting. Sigh. I’m not a fast writer, so tossing out a large chunk of words is always painful. However, the new scene worked much better.

I do take breaks from the writing – making cups of tea, bringing the dogs in from the run, taking the dogs for a walk, giving dogs tummy-rubs, and their favourite – playing biscuit-games. (For my US readers, biscuits=cookies.) Tansy, being a smart bundle of energy, likes the games with running in them, and is always trying to anticipate when I’ll give the order to ‘come’. Jaffa, aka The Princess Dog, is slowing down, due to her seizure medication, and possibly just her temperament. Her favourite biscuit game is ‘I’ll just sit at your feet looking adorable, and you give me a biscuit.”

We’ve had a lot of summer rain, so everything is looking very green – the greenest I have ever seen this district. Most of the trees around here are stringy-bark eucalypts, but there are peppermint gums (eucalypts) and box gums as well, and the box gums are flowering, white blossoms high in the canopy attracting a constant buzz of insects. The native blackthorns are also flowering, and as we have a lot of them, it’s a delight to see the haze of tiny white blossoms as we walk around the block. They’re quite straggly bushes, but the bunches of flowers are lovely:

Australian blackthorn (bursaria spinosa) in flower

Austalian blackthorn (bursaria spinosa) in flower

And yes, I do think it’s a lovely coincidence that the title of the German edition of As Darkness Falls, coming out next month, translates to ‘Black Thorns’. The translator probably didn’t have such a pretty image in mind when coming up with the title, however 😉

If you’re wondering about the title of this post, it’s because one of the strategies I use to keep my butt in my chair and my brain focused on my book, is to knit while I’m staring at the screen. As mentioned before, I’m not a fast writer. Some people write quickly, get a ‘dirty draft’ down, and then go back and polish it – sometimes revising it multiple times. I write slowly, spend a lot of time getting each part right, and therefore do a great deal of staring at the words, thinking how best to express the mood of the characters, and weave together the plot elements. So, for me, knitting something uncomplicated is a good way to help the concentration process – it keeps my hands busy, and away from the mouse and the temptation of clicking all over the internet (or even just over other files on the computer), and it relaxes the restless part of my brain, with the simple, repetitive rhythms, and just the sheer pleasure of holding beautiful yarns. It also dramatically reduces any desire to get up and go and clean bathrooms, spring clean the house, or any of those other procrastination devices that afflict restless students and workers.

I usually keep my knitting ramblings over on my textile blog, but just to pretty up this post a little more, here’s a photo of second shawl I recently knitted from a pattern I designed:
Brangian Shawl

(It looks more complicated than it is – the lace pattern was easy rhythmic knitting, and so suited to knitting while writing! I did take a few breaks, though, earlier in January, to write up the pattern, and after test-knitting by some friends, the pattern’s now available on Ravelry, the big knitting community.)

Okay, now that I’ve had a short break to communicate with the world beyond my computer, I’ll go and wash my breakfast dishes, and then get back into the writing. The current knitting is another shawl, in a rich dark red wool – dramatic shades for a dramatic scene!

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