During recent evenings, I have been knitting dishcloths for my aunt. Fascinated, my husband remarked, “Who would ever think of making fabric like that?” This sparked discussion about the origins of knitting, crochet and macramé. I began to speculate about the process a pattern maker goes through.
I have just enough experience to realize which stitches make what patterns and can create variety in a plain, flat piece of knitted fabric. I can imagine the tedium of knitting several inches to see what effect a stitch change made, ripping it out and starting all over.
I detest starting things over and go to great lengths to avoid it. Determined to “get it right” I sometimes plan for an hour to execute half an hour of meal preparation. Dinner parties take me a week!
When learning architectural drafting, nothing upset me more than being told to “start all over.” I could plan for an hour and get all the drawings right but my page layout never quite suited my instructor. “Why didn’t you tell me that before I began?”
I’ve always seen do-overs as wasted time and effort. My logical mind tells me it is good practice; my emotions say something different. I want to get it right the first time!
As a writer, starting over is agony and throwing away a paragraph is like giving away my cat. I’ve had to do it many times, because it is part of the editorial process, and I’ve seen the sparkling results of paring away superfluous language. I still don’t like it!
Extra words can be like too much jewelry with a beautiful evening gown—they need to go back in the box for another occasion. Perhaps if I created a digital “jewelry box” for all my artfully crafted descriptive paragraphs, I wouldn’t feel so sorry about not getting to use them. Maybe then I wouldn’t see it as starting over, just trying on pretties.