Facing the Sewing Moment

Saturday, October 17, 2015
Here it is mid-October and I don’t know about you but for me, the whole year seemed to zoom by! Still, there’s a chunk of time left to get those 2015 goals accomplished.


But what if you are one of those writers who struggle to accomplish your writing goals? To accomplish any writing goals? To even find your list of writing goals?

For the third year in a row.

It might be time for you to have a little think. Perhaps to face what I call the “Sewing Moment.”

When I was young and twenty-something, before Junior Halls, when Mister Man traveled, and TV channels were limited, I had time on my hands. And so I looked for Things To Do, and eventually, sewing showed up on my radar.

I’d always wanted to learn to sew. I mean, besides sewing on a button. I imagined myself making dresses, or whipping up fancy Halloween costumes, or curtains! Yes, I’d make curtains and slipcovers and pillows and …well, the possibilities were endless. So I signed up for a class. The goal of the class: to make a skirt and shirt.

I cut out all the pieces and geez, it was all very detailed and the instructor found a million little things that I hadn’t done quite right and that would apparently affect the end result and honestly. I just wanted to sit down at the machine and start sewing! And so there we were, only the second class, and the instructor stopped at my desk and said, “You are never going to learn to sew. You don’t have the patience for it.”

Okay, that really annoyed me. I’d show her!

Except I didn’t. Those cut-out pieces of material never materialized into a skirt and shirt. I threw out the mangled scraps because I didn’t like the constant reminder of my failure, but even so, I’m reminded now of the important lesson I learned: I didn’t have the patience to sew because I liked the idea of sewing more than I liked sewing.

I meet a lot of writers who like the idea of being a writer more than they actually like writing. They set all kinds of overzealous goals only to fail. And then they beat themselves up for not accomplishing anything.

Perhaps you’re one of those writers. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write. In fact, I hope you’ll continue to write. But maybe throw out the goals. Go ahead and write that story for your children, pen your memoir, work on your poetry, or find peace, writing in your daily journal. Write because you enjoy it. Don’t worry about marketing or selling or the business of writing. Just have fun, writing.

That’s what sewing is for me these days. Yep, I’ve made Halloween costumes and even curtains, but I use that sticky stuff that you iron. I don’t even know what it’s called, and you know what? I don’t care. Sewing (and I use that term loosely) is something fun that I do every once in a while, because dang it, I enjoy making stuff. And the end result is good enough for me. Not like my writing.

For me, writing is serious business. And why I’m looking at my goals this October morning and getting back to work!

~Cathy C. Hall


Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan said...

This is exactly me with sewing, knitting, etc. A few crafts that are really short-term I can handle but I'm not a sewer by nature at all.
I am, however, willing to put in the work for writing!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Awesome post, Cathy, and I agree with you 100%. A few years ago I read a Stephen King quote that turned me around: "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work." I thought long and hard about that, and realized that I was an amateur and would stay an amateur until I started working like a professional. There were personal habits I had to change, and I did. But here's the other thing I realized---there's nothing wrong with being an amateur! Being an amateur is perfect if you want to write but don't want to be bogged down in all the other stuff required of professional writers. There's no right or wrong, there's only what's right or wrong for the individual. You've said all of that beautifully here, and I love your sewing analogy. For the record---not that this will surprise you---but our sewing stories are quite similar. That sticky stuff? Love it. :)

Donna Volkenannt said...

Great analogy, Cathy. I, too, wonder where the year has gone. I always have such good intentions at the beginning of each year and even write out goals. Somehow life gets in the way of my plans and goals. My writing takes a back seat to everything else. Maybe next year . . .

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