Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I HAVE finished

I was wallowing around in "I suck, I can't finish writing anything" last weekend.  I am done with that, however, and on to "I may have alot of unfinished stuff, but I have alot of damned fine things I've finished, too!"

Okay, none of those damned fine finished things are manuscripts.  But here's the thing.  I am very creative.  I am crafty.  I like to make stuff.  I quilt, I knit, I spin.  I like to get to the bare bones of a craft project and start with the raw materials.  A friend turned me on to scrap booking about 15 years ago, and as I started buying fancy papers and rubber stamps, I got interested in making my own papers and rubber stamps.  I started quilting, and while I did't go as far as growing my own cotton, I have done some fabric painting and printing and stuff like that.  I knit, and I love the fancy yarns, and taught myself how to spin.  We know someone who raises sheep, so I got some raw fleeces from him and cleaned them, and dyed them, and...can I just say that sheep are some nasty-ass creatures?  Phew. 

I dyed and spun the wool for this before I knit it!

I spent a few hours in my craft room Saturday sorting and pitching and rearranging things and realize that, while I have enough raw materials to stock a new Hobby Lobby store, I have alot of UFO's (unfinished objects) in various stages between "done" and "not started".   I have lots of stuff I've finished and not shown anyone, too.  And that's okay!

A few years ago I worked with a woman who competes in women's figure competitions (it's body building, but not as bulky), and she said to me, "You sew, will you make me a suit?"  Ummm.  Okay.  And I did. I went throught miles and miles of spandex and elastic before I got something that sort of worked.  I have a huge pile of bikini bits in my basement, but I finally finished a suit.  God love her, Abbie wore it in competition.  And I learned what I needed to do to make a better suit.  I started making suits for other women, some of whom won their competitions.   Business has trickled off because the requirements for the posing suits have changed, but I learned alot from jumping into that project.  I learned that I need a lot of trial an error and that I will have many, many false starts before I get something right. 

So instead of beating myself up for not having a finished manuscript (less than a year after I decided to get serious about learning to write), I am going to focus on appreciating the things that I HAVE finished.  Maybe I'll get out some new words and toss them together to see how they look on the old design board.


  1. True story: it took me 14 years of writing to finish my first manuscript. Since then, I've finished 2 more and soon on the way to a third (then hopefully as many more as ideas I can think of). I have thousands of UFOs in boxes and in files on my computer. In all that time, I wrote 2 short stories and a handful of poems. All that unfinished work was constantly hanging over my head.

    And let me tell you--the day I finished my first novel, I had a feeling of accomplishment like none other. :)

    You can do it!

  2. I took eight years to finish a first draft. So I know how frustrating it can get.

    I like that you look at things that you have finished to put this into perspective.

    And I loooooove you quilts.

  3. Well who knew you were such a Laura Ingalls kind of gal with all that sewing/quilting and spinning/knitting you do. The quilts are beautiful, btw.

    You could always delve into non-fiction writing with a crafty type of book. Didn't Amy Sedaris write a humorous craft book? I think I remember reading about that somewhere.

    I feel some pressure to complete a manuscript in a reasonably short amount of time since I would like finish my first book before I qualify for Soc Sec benefits. Yeah, unfortunately I didn't start writing while in the first blush of youth.

  4. Beautiful quilts.

    I am so jealous, especially since I just sent my oldest off to Girl Scouts with no troop number on her vest because the iron-on didn't work and I don't even own a sewing machine.
    as far as your "finished" and "unfinished" business, I stole this from a friend's Facebook status. It really spoke to me about how much we get "done".

    "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." - Emerson

  5. Wow! You are so talented! Love your quilts, and the bathing suit is gorgeous. And you spun your own yarn? That is fan-freakin'-tastic!

    Don't worry about your ms. You WILL finish. Take your inspiration from all the lovely things you HAVE finished. :)