Monday, February 28, 2011

From Idea to Finished Product

I caught crocheting much like someone catches a cold. I was exposed to it by my grandmother and mother.

The steel crochet hooks, bright threads, and intricate designs were stamped onto my young psyche. Working with thread proved a challenge for my childish hands, so yarn was substituted.

Collecting crochet patterns and yarn became a natural extension of the hobby. When I'd see a cute baby afghan or a sweater design, I'd print it out and tuck it away. Even today, I stay out of craft stores because I lose track of time among the rows of dazzling colors and textures.

Do I use every pattern or skein of yarn? No. Many of them sit in a file or closet for years, while others are produced immediately.

My writing idea file reminds me of my penchant for gathering things I hope to use someday. They grab my attention for a short time, but never make it to the production stage.

What causes an idea to land in a file instead of on a page? Often, the lack of attention I give it is the culprit. If I mull it over, examine all angles, and let my mind go down various pathways, I may unearth a story fit for publication. Other times no matter how much I brainstorm a thought, it fizzles out like a 4th of July sparkler.

How do your story ideas go from the initial vision to a finished product?


Lynn said...

I haven't crochet in years, but I know my needles were the boring grey, not the bold colours of the hooks pictured here. Same with my ideas. Some become jewel coloured images moving together, developing into a story, but others are flat black and white stills. I usually still keep the idea as it may knit into one of the colourful scenes eventually.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lynn -

My crochet hooks are actually bright colors like those pictured. :)

I like your analogy. Some ideas have more pizazz than others.


Jeanette Levellie said...

I usually jot my ideas down on slips of paper or 3x5 cards. Sometimes I file them to refer to later when I need an idea for a column or story, but usually the ones I implement are fresh ideas that I received in the last day or two. Those shout to be written!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

It sounds like you have a good system. Do you ever go back to those items?

I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to save every little idea. I guess they could serve as a writing prompt when we're stuck.

Susan :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Lots and lots of revisions. At least I have the general idea in my head, then I simply start filling sections out, plugging the gaps, and adding twists and turns in the plot.

Jessica Nelson said...

There's a lot of pain involved. *grin*

Ryan and Melanie said...


I'm like Jeanette. I too jot down ideas all over the place, but mostly in a little notebook that I carry around with me. Sometimes I go back to those ideas when I'm stuck.

Thanks again for the book! I'm excited and blessed. :)


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Stephen -

I know what you mean. You just described my process.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Wouldn't it be nice if we could take a writing painkiller? LOL! There'd be a long line.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Melanie -

You're welcome!

I tend to write on little scraps of paper. Eventually, I corral them and stick them into a file folder.

Susan :)

Nancy said...

I used to have looseleaf paper to write on. Little ideas were shoved into that plastic wrapper the paper comes in. Now I put ideas in my blogging notebook. A great deal of them get used because I am always tring to get a topic of interest.
In the old stort story days, there were many that did not get produced.

kristen said...

There are so many snippets of life that I write down in the notebook I always keep in my purse. Unfortunately like the yarn in your closet, I sometimes don't go over those books for years. They sit there and collect dust while newer fresher images make their way to the page.
If it's something I think I'll use right away, I keep it in the back of my mind for a spare moment between projects.
Love this analogy.
Thanks, Susan:)
Have a wonderful day.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

From what I'm reading here, it seems many ideas languish in a file or notebook. Perhaps the time has come to go through those notes and decide what to keep and what to toss. :)


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Sometimes committing an idea to paper helps us remember. I know I'd lose an awful lot of material if I didn't write it down.

In retrospect, I'm glad I keep a file. Then, I don't have to worry about missing out on a hidden gem.

Susan :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Idea to actual book is magical. Sometimes an idea won't leave me alone, so I have to do something with it.

Love the crochet hooks. Good way to "hook" a reader with fond memories.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathi -

I didn't know my first book idea WAS a book idea. Like you, it wouldn't leave me alone.

One day, my husband said, "That's it! That's your book!" I thought he was crazy at first, but then caught the vision. :)


Patti Lacy said...

Ah, you knit up the best analogies--and prayer e-mails, too:)

You have blessed a very difficult season in my life, and I thank you.

I thank God for the few minutes to check in on some special friends tonight--you're one of them.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

So nice to see you. Hope your hubby is doing well. :)