- 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.
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.