In the past, I have jokingly claimed that untangling things is my superpower. It’s a claim based in fact, because I do feel like I’m uncommonly good at sorting out the knots in things like necklaces, shoelaces, or my daughters’ hair. It’s a task that takes patience and and a delicate touch — you can’t just go in and yank on things and expect them to fall apart. It can be quite challenging, and also quite rewarding. It’s immensely satisfying when a knotted up wad finally comes apart into separate lengths.
This week, though, I went into battle with an aggressive yarn tangle and lost. And not only did I lose, but I sacrificed two evenings (and hours of potential writing and editing time) to what ended up being a futile struggle. The worst part, though? The Tangle was a result of my own mistakes. I had to frog1 several rows on my current crochet WIP, somewhere around 1,000 stitches all told, and because I haven’t ever figured out how to effectively deal with unraveled yarn when I’ve been pulling it out of the center of a skein (it won’t go back in, you know), I ended up creating a huge snarl.2 In order to resolve the problem, I first had to roll what was left of the skein into a ball, and then spend way too many hours and way too many episodes of Babylon 5 trying to get the mass untangled.
By the end of the second evening, I realized there was no way I was going to win the battle. Though I’d rescued quite a bit of yarn, there was a core knot that I just couldn’t work loose. Even if I could manage to unknot it, the yarn around it had been overworked, anyway, becoming frayed and flimsy. I would have to cut it out and dispose of it, regardless. So at 11 p.m. on Thursday, I took out my scissors and snipped.
It was very disheartening, to say the least. Not only had I lost the battle, I had effectively wasted hours of time in an unproductive activity. If I had just cut the yarn at the outset, I probably could have untangled everything, even the knot at the core — it’s much easier to untangle something when you have a loose end to pull through. I may even have saved the length of yarn that became overworked during the untangling process. So much waste, all for the sake of vanity! “I can do this!” I told myself, without ever stopping to think about whether it was worth it or not.
There’s a metaphor in there for writing — plot problems are often talked about as knots or tangles, for instance — but I’m not going to delve into it. Mostly I just want to explain why there are so many Not Dones on my goal list for the past week. It’s because I let myself get “tangled up” in less important things. Resistance, I tell you. It comes at you in so many disguises….
Last week’s goals
- City of Bridges rewrite summary for Wattpad – due last last Friday. Not Done. Really dragging my heels on this one, but since I don’t know when the new cover will be forthcoming right now, I guess it’s not a big rush.
- City of Bridges draft of The Ghost – due Saturday night. Done. I think I finished it Sunday, though.
- City of Bridges draft The Princess – due Tuesday night. In Progress. Going to try to get this finished tonight.
- City of Bridges draft The Bull – due Friday night. Not Started.
- City of Bridges – corrections in Wattpad text – due before July 19 (hopeful date for new cover and summary uploads). Not Started.
- Daily blog posts. Done. But I’m going to unpublish Wednesday’s because it’s really not very good.
This week’s goals
- City of Bridges rewrite summary for Wattpad — due Sunday.
- City of Bridges finish draft of The Princess — due tonight.
- City of Bridges draft The Bull — due Sunday night.
- City of Bridges — corrections in Wattpad text — due before July 19.
- Daily blog posts.
That the two lists are so remarkably similar is an indication of how much time I wasted with the Tangle. That, and playing around in Photoshop to make cover photos for my daily blog posts here. That’s something I need to figure out. I like to have a photo or image to go with every post, but such things take time to produce. The Photoshop play is fun, but it is time consuming, and I need to remember to focus on my priorities. That means coming up with a new strategy for coming up with images, or just giving up on the every-post-has-an-image ideal altogether, but I’m not sure I like that notion. I’ll noddle over it this weekend and see what sort of solution I can come up with. I like to keep all my creative nerves satisfied!
- Frogging is the colloquial term for unravelling rows of stitches, because it sounds like “ribbbbbbt!”
- It’s the classic story: the Hero’s mistake leads to the creation of the villain, which is the personification of their own Shadow. Only by defeating the villain can the Hero achieve individuation and be whole once again.