It’s Monday morning as I write this – not traditionally a time of deep joy – but I am fizzing with excitement. Okay, some of that may be the caffeine (I didn’t sleep well and possibly over-filled the tea bucket) but it’s mostly happiness.
I am just so damn lucky because I love my job. I went out for a meal with my lovely husband recently and do you know what I started blethering about as soon as my first beer hit? My job: My current WIP, my ideas for this website, how amazingly nice and supportive my readers are, how flipping lucky I am, and how I still can’t believe I get to do this…
So, thank you to you all for being here. I am so grateful to you for reading and talking about my books and for hanging out in my corner of the internet.
And I’m grateful to all readers, too. They (well, ‘we’, since I’m a reader, too) support an industry which promotes creativity and empathy and enables a (lucky) few to work in their PJs.
On that note, if you fancy winning a signed copy of The Language of Spells, there’s a GoodReads giveaway running at the moment (finishes Thursday). You can enter here.
I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed and feeble this week, so this Friday Five is all about trying to combat that.
1. New knitting project. Knitting is definitely good for stress-relief and the repetitive action helps me to think through story ideas, too.
This owl pattern and yarn combination is super-cute, but the yarn itself is making me cross-eyed. I’m getting used to it, though, and the pattern is nice and simple, which is what I need at the moment!
2. I’ve been giving myself plenty of reading time (as I know that will help me to ‘refill the creative well’, as well as being an enjoyable escape from my own head) and I really enjoyed The Lie by C.L. Taylor and Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
3. Easing out the post-deadline kinks with some yoga. I’ve been saying ‘I must do some yoga, it’ll do me good’ for so long, that I (finally) got sick of myself and actually did some. Hurrah. I’ve been following the 30 Days of Yoga on the ‘Yoga With Adriene’ channel on YouTube and I really like her down-to-earth, approach.
I’m at the discovery stage of my WIP, which involves lots of staring out of the window, thinking about my book while I’m watching TV or when other people are talking to me (sorry!), making a book collage, a soundtrack, and doing lots of free-writing.
The last bit is the most important. I call it my ‘zero draft’ because it’s not even cohesive enough to be called a ‘shitty first draft’.
I love this stage. It’s exciting and highly creative, and it’s the perfect time for a knitting project. I like having something to do while I’m thinking (there’s a reason ideas come when I’m in the shower or driving), and it has to be something simple and repetitive so that my mind is free to roam. This ‘one row lace scarf’ pattern from Give Me A Purl is perfect.
I’m making one in a lovely green-blue sock yarn and 5mm needles (you use bigger needles than usually recommended), and it makes a lovely stretchy scarf. You can use any type/weight of yarn, so it’s good for stash-busting, too.
Now that the book is done (done!), I’ve got a little more time and I decided to start knitting again. Rather than finish one of my on-going projects (that would be too sensible), I’ve started something new. A mini shawl/scarf affair made with an elongated garter stitch. As it’s the first time I’ve used circular needles, I chose a simple pattern and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s growing quickly, too, which is always nice.
Although the pattern states fingering-weight yarn, I’m using Rowan Damask DK. It’s made from viscose and linen so it has a nice drape and is pretty fine for double-knit. Better yet, it’s on offer at the moment at Black Sheep Wools.
[The brilliant Knit Night cupcakes are from Vegan YumYum. More pictures and a tutorial here]
Having spent the pre-school years diligently helping to cut out shapes, threading endless plastic (blunt) needles and hoovering up glitter, I just about burst with pride and happiness when she studied her knitting and sewing books, got out her own supplies and rustled up this fabby knitted robot toy as a surprise present.