Fashion, sewing machines, and how to be a writer when you look like a character from an old novel

So, I have been getting VERY interested in making my own clothes lately. I have always had an odd taste in fashion – it tends to be rather dandified, with a lot of lace and frills and gorgeous detail. These are my clothes, the things I wear when I go out. But the internet can only provide so much. I have had some excellent finds, and done a lot of accessorising and playing around, even customising items of clothing by hand in order to get the look I wanted. Now, I’m running out of options. Short of paying a fortune, there just isn’t that much call for looking like some sort of androgynous fop these days.

Then, I was gifted a sewing machine. A Singer sewing machine, no less. And a world of my own clothing designs has opened up to me. This will help so much with what I do… not just in making my own clothes, but in writing several of my characters who… wait for it… also make their own clothes. But it’s TIME CONSUMING. And so is writing novels, and trying to use social media (because heaven knows I still have no idea how to use that consistently and/or properly).

I thought it was time to set myself some rules, and share them with the general public.

  1. Writing comes first. It’s one of the rules I’ve sort of always had, but university, jobs, life, other things always end up getting in the way. If I have a novel idea, that’s the time to drop everything and go running to the nearest notebook.
  2. Sew things that are worth sewing. I have a house full of objects I have made in my knitting adventures that will never have a home or be useful to anyone. Most recently, I found that a friend’s cats enjoyed the mouse I knitted and happened to send them – this is perhaps one of the few times my knitting has ever had a purpose beyond occupying my fingers, and made me think about creating things for a purpose. I love artsy, crafty stuff as much as the next person, but having a house full of it at the end? Not really my cup of water (or, you know… tea. If I drank caffeine). So when I’m working on sewing projects, it’s important for it to have a purpose. As much as I find creativity relaxing, it needs to GO SOMEWHERE.
  3. Write things that are worth writing. This one is something every writer should bear in mind, really. But it’s not something I think about too often. I’ve written for so long that it’s just something I do… like breathing or giving incredibly scathing looks to people who don’t walk fast enough in the middle of a busy London street. But it is important. You don’t have to put in your work a bunch of allusions to political unrest, or war, or anything like that, but you do have to have something to say. By writing, you should be saying SOMETHING. Even if that something is, to borrow a little from Chuck Wendig at terribleminds (please do go check him out, he’s great!), just ‘hey, look at this cool steampunk wombat!’. (Now I’m wondering if he ever got around to writing about a steampunk wombat. I could do with that sort of insanity in my life).

So, those are the important things, really. Life, for me, is about purpose. About doing something with my time on this earth that MEANS something. So… I’m going to make sure my writing says ‘hey, look at this stuff! Look at the way human nature is so freaking weird! Look at the wombats!’.

– K Hart

And, just a link to read Chuck Wendig’s blog (because I couldn’t mention him and then NOT share it). This is one of my favourite posts he ever made. As a genre fiction writer primarily, reading this made me grin like a madwoman all the way through:


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