Knitting And Writing. More Alike than I thought!

My hubby and I snuck away for a week. While I was resting, I read a bunch of blogs by knitting artists. One in particular really struck hard. I’ll share one of the photos from the blog:


In this particular post, the artist shared photo after photo of her “Swatches.” For the uninitiated, a knitting swatch is usually a 4X4 inch piece that the knitter creates in order to determine if her needles and stitch pattern will create a garment that will fit. In the design world, the artist uses the swatch to envision the finished project. In this case, I was amazed by the dozens and dozens of swatches — all nearly 12 inches square — the woman had knitted in order to eliminate all the problems and capture all the design possibilities of her project idea. 

A single twelve inch swatch, in multiple colors, with multiple design elements — including buttonholes, rib, neck opening, etc — can take several full days to knit. And, in the end, it may be one that you don’t use. 

As a writer, when I finished reading this inspiring post, I felt guilty. Like other writers, I often pray for the Holy Spirit to give me original ideas. I pray about my projects. But I rarely put in the work this woman does. I don’t create “writing swatches,” working out the details of plotting, character, suspense, etc. Compared to her, I’m a lazy artist. 

And to be honest, I cover up my lazy bone with “spirituality.” 

Then this week, I was reading in the book of Joshua, and I noticed this unusual thing. God tells Joshua that he will deliver Jericho to the Jews. And he will deliver Ai to the Jews. In Sunday school, we sing about the walls of Jericho falling down. But we rarely pay much attention to the other half of the story. That’s the half where the people rush in to the city and spend the rest of the day destroying everything. People, male and female, young and old, cattle, sheep, donkeys, everything. While God brought down the walls, the Jews had the real work of taking the city. It wasn’t a walk in the park. 

Neither was Ai. That involved an ambush, a brutal man-to-man battle, taking the city and setting fire to the buildings. God showed the people how to do it. But they did the work. 

Now I’m not discounting miraculous intervention. I’m only convicted by the ways I may hope for miraculous intervention so that I don’t have to do any real work. 

As far as I know, God doesn’t deliver finished manuscripts. He inspires. He encourages. He gives us creativity. But the work? That he allows us to do in partnership with him. I haven’t been holding up my end of the deal.

How about you? Do you need to double down in your partnership with God? Care to share?


5 Responses to “Knitting And Writing. More Alike than I thought!”

  1. lauradavis47 Says:

    Thanks, BetteI needed this!

    Laura Davis 503-312-1162 Author of “Carols for a Family Christmas”

  2. Miriam Says:

    Nice, Bette. So true! I am always so blessed–and yes, convicted, at times–by artists who make time for their craft. The Lord invited my sis in law to pursue painting a few years ago. She is quite gifted, but of course it is all a learning curve for her, too. She told me once that she was driving somewhere and stopped and got out and took a picture of the scene before her. I was struck by the simplicity and immediacy of what she did–taking steps to be about the work she was invited to do. Something like that is probably a no-brainer for those planning, diligent types out there. For me, it’s a joyful picture of being in-the-moment with the Lord, coming alongside Him out of desire and not obligation.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      I admit Miriam, that plotting is the hardest part of fiction writing for me. I love a novel that surprises you at every turn and yet, at the end, you’ve gone on a marvelous, meaningful journey. Mine are far too predictable. I once thought of keeping a plotting notebook, where I just plot a novel every day. Just practice — like scales to the musician, or daily drawing to the artist. But have I done it? No. Clint Kelly tells us to ask God for original ideas. He says we Christians aren’t original — and the God of creation is inside of us. Me? I ask, but I don’t work at practicing. That was my lesson here. Like when I started and wanted to begin by being published rather than learning the rules and expectations of publishers. Humbling. Yes. But helpful.

  3. Duane J. YOUNG Says:

    Betty, As usual great insight. I enjoy that you allow yourself to see these bites of wisdom and insight along your normal path of daily living. Now, back to work…

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