Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Learning by doing

Last night I tugged the final stitch on the latest quilt. It was a good feeling, I have to admit, as life often got in the way of being as productive on the quilt as I would have liked.

I should probably qualify my part in this quilt by pointing out that I'm what I've been told is a 'topper'. What that means is I don't actually cut and piece together the squares, rectangles, triangles, strips, etc that come together to make the quilt. My good friend does that and she amazes me with her color choices, exacting assembly and devoted study to the art of quilting. What I do is the decorative stitching that not only adds to the design but also serves the purpose of binding the quilt together.

I'm completely self-taught. Mistakes have been made but also, hopefully, lessons have been learned.
It feels as if just about everything I'm learned in my life has been by the seat of my pants. By doing rather than studying.

When I decided to try my hand at quilting, did I study and learn the way my friend had? No. I simply took needle and thread to material. It appears I've learned as I've received a couple of ribbons for my stitching.

I've taken much the same approach to writing. Granted over the years I've taken classes, attended workshops, read instructional books. But for the most part, I've plunked my rear-end in the chair and wrote. Oh, the mistakes I've made! But I have also learned along the way. Well enough that I've won a few prestigious writing awards.

People have told me that I'm an 'instinctive' writer and I'm flattered by the compliment. Trust me there are many days when I wish I was one of those writers who compile detailed plots and character sketches. But it just doesn't come natural to me. So if I've learned nothing else, it's that writing by the seat of my pants is my process. 

What's your process?

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