Get a Hobby: Weaving with Words

- by Elaine Isaak

The only time I paused in my marriage and the word “divorce” came to mind was  after I had sold my first book, but before it was published and I was talking about needing a hobby.  My husband looked at me and said “I thought writing was your hobby.”  I can only imagine the cold, astonished stare on my face as I thought “Honey, if you’ve known me this long and that’s what you think, you better think again.”  In fact, writing is my life. . . and everything else is gravy.

But a hobby is a useful thing for a writer, in particular, a creative hobby that requires a different kind of energy than writing does.  Mine is weaving.

On the loom: hand-dyed yarn from the Convergence Fiber Festival, in a broken twill pattern.

On the loom: hand-dyed yarn from the Convergence Fiber Festival, in a broken twill pattern.

I’d done some weaving before the fateful conversation, but it was around then that I joined the New Hampshire Weavers’ Guild, took a workshop at the Sharon Arts Center locally, and purchased my first loom, a 40 inch wide, 8-harness monster, which was shortly replaced by a more manageable 24″ wide, 4-harness portable–the loom you can see in my photo.

There are many things to enjoy about weaving:  the richness and variety of fibers available, watching the fabric grow by the moment as I work, wearing or giving away something truly unique and handmade.  But as a writer, what I love is the meditative aspect.  Once the loom is set up, I can weave steadily, allowing my body to enter something like the flow state–just challenging enough, but not occupying all of my mind.  So, as I weave, my mind can wonder, and the writer-brain can noodle around with plot ideas, with character, with scenes upcoming that haven’t settled into place.

At my loom, I am not only creating fabric, but bringing together the threads of my work in progress.  Weaving soothes me when I’m stuck or frustrated about writing–look, I can still move forward with something!  But that “just busy enough” factor usually means I am developing new energy and new ideas for when I return to writing.

Now that I have this fabric on my loom, I can take a break from the computer, stretch out, and weave–even if it’s just for a few minutes–and find my way back into my story.

I’d love to hear about other writers’ hobbies that have a similar effect.

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