DSC_0458[1]Jeanette here, squeezing blogging between writing, Christmas shopping, practicing for the church choir’s Christmas concert, and crocheting scarves for friends and family. And you guessed it: I came up with a writing-related illustration while weaving my favorite crochet needle through some soft deep purple yarn.

Anyone out there who crochets knows that the first row of any project is the hardest. (I have a feeling that the same is true of knitting.) All you have to hold onto is a long string of chain stitches that you hope you counted correctly. And if you did happen to miscount, you have to start all over again. The second row is a little easier, unless of course, the projects calls for you to alternate stitches, in which case, it can feel as awkward and as Row 1. But by about the third of fourth row, you pick up a rhythm and really start flying. Now and then, you might make a mistake, but then you unravel that section, fix it, and move on. Finally, the project is finished and you can show it off to everyone except the person that you plan on surprising with it. This is the point where you can honestly say it was worth Row 1. In fact, you can’t wait to start on the next scarf.

I’ve found that a similar process takes place with writing projects. We start out with a blank Word document, an idea, and a rough idea where we want to begin. We plunk out a few words, delete them, and try some new ones, until we finally have an opening sentence worthy of pulling a reader in. Think of that awkward, scary opening sentence as Row 1. Nothing else can be written without it. We need to get past it in order for the words to start flying from our brains and out through our fingers onto the page. And when we finally reach “The End,” the satisfaction is worth all the stitch-counting and unraveling and occasional knots.

So if you are still on Row 1 today, know that Row 2 will be easier. Then you’ll really be flying!

About Jeanette Hanscome

Jeanette Hanscome is the author of four books and over 400 articles, devotionals, and stories for both teens and adults. Her recent work includes a story for Guideposts magazine, a chapter in Rescue Dogs, Firefighting Heroes and Science Facts, and the short story Gifts, Volume 12 in the 12 Days of Christmas series. Her newest book, Running with Roselle, was co-written with blind 9/11 survivor and New York Times Bestselling author Michael Hingson. When she isn’t writing, Jeanette offers services as a freelance content editor and writing coach, and enjoys teaching writers. Jeanette lives in the Bay Area and feels blessed to be the mom of two amazing sons.

One Thought on “Getting Past Row 1

  1. As an avid crocheter & writer, I could really understand & appreciate your analogy between writing & crocheting. For years I’ve felt that maybe I am an inferior writer pretending, or at least giving myself false hopes of ever becoming a “good writer”. This article has reassured me that other (probably all) writers go through the frustration of trying to find just the right words to fit what you’re trying to say. It has encouraged me to keep trying, and made me dare to hope that someday, oh, sweet someday, I might actually become a published author. Thank you Jeanette for your uplifting message!

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