Sunday, April 29, 2018

Valuing my words by Leanne Dyck

"dogwood--I think" photo by ldyck

I finished writing my first book (Novelty Yarn) and thought...

I'm brilliant; it's brilliant.

I re-read it...

It's not bad.

I re-read it again...

Well... Hmm


This needs work and this and this.


I can't write. I don't have any talent? I'm a joke. This is a joke.

Listening to this negative self-talk paralyzed me, preventing me from submitting my work to any publisher. I didn't elect to self-publish Novelty Yarn. I hide in self-publishing.

But then came the reviews...

'Novelty Yarn contains a collection of small, tasty morsels that will continue surprise you right up until the last bite... Ranging from childhood memories about 4-H knitting and lessons from Grandma to night dreams about wild women knitting in the forest, each segment evokes a different mood. Many of the stories made me laugh out loud, while others made me mediate for a few minutes. The stories are separated by brief interludes of acoustic guitar music... The guitar intervals are just long enough to let your mind rest between the stories. The sensation is like cleansing your palate after sampling each vintage at a wine tasting. The total experience was delicious.' Donna Druchunas (Ethnic Knitting Discovery)
This review--and others like it--slowly began to transform me.

Today I submitted a manuscript to a publishing house. Will this publisher validate me? Will they accept my manuscript? Maybe, maybe not. That's not the point. The point is, by submitting my work, I'm validating myself.

*Revised from some a piece written in April 2007.

"blue sky" photo by ldyck

Next post:  Blue Skies (short story) about coping with anxiety and depression. Published on Sunday, May 6th at (approximately) 5 PM PST

"dog and wood--I know" photo by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

This April I...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Lure of Yarn (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Do you enjoy knitting or are you addicted? Did someone teach you to knit or did they get you hooked?

photo by ldyck

A friend taught me to cast on. I knit a scarf--just a scarf. But, oh... The feel of the yarn as it slipped through my fingers... The soothing repetitive movements of my hands as I manipulated the needles... The click, click, click, the singing of the needles... I knit another scarf and another and another.

"Knitting is so relaxing," I said when people asked about my hobby--even when they didn't. "You should try it." I forced yarn and needles at them. Some of them walked away. Others ran.

All I wanted to do was knit. I couldn't stop myself. I wasn't myself. Something else had taken over.

Then came the hard stuff--colourwork, lace, cables:  stitch after stitch, row after row.

"Let's go to a movie." My boyfriend tried to hide his worry. "Dancing? To the art gallery?" He gulped. "To the ballet?"

"Wish I could but I have to work late." That was a lie. I shuck off to my local yarn shop where I bought yarn--more and more yarn. I hide it in every closet in my tiny apartment and under the bed.

It's too late for me. I'm lost to the click, click, click. But you, my friend, there's hope for you. No, don't touch those needles. Stay away from that yarn. Heed my words--never cast on.

*Re-written from a story published in my first book, Novelty Yarn.

photo by ldyck

Next post:  Valuing my words
Published on Sunday, April 29 (at approximately 5 PM PT)

'Happy Earth Day' ldyck

Sharing my Author Journey...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

How I Wrote My First Book by Leanne Dyck

The following article was published in the West Coast Knitter's News in November 2006. The newsletter was edited by Paulette Lane.

How I Wrote a Knitting Book

Like all journeys, this one began with a single step. I was at a house party and innocently told a friend, "I'd like to start a writing group."

"Well," advised the friend, "you should talk to (name withheld to protect the innocent)." And a few short weeks later Mayne Island writers group was formed.

I immediately began to benefit from the group. The first lesson I learnt was in order for skills to be sharpened you have to practice them. So I made a commitment to write daily.

I had tried this strategy before and had failed miserably. Not wanting this same fate I decided to go public by way of a blog.

Daily writing is difficult. You begin to run out of ideas. When this happens you have to dig deep. You have to carve off the fat to reach the bone. What really matters to you begins to be exposed. You begin to write from your heart.

I began to write about my passion:  knitting. Each time I did this my readership grew. People were actually logging on to read my writing. Go figure? It amazed me. 

The idea started to percolate in my brain that I could write a book.

Still, the sheer volume of writing scared me. Even a short book is 100 pages. How could I write 100 pages?

Day after day I wrote. I kept the good bits and forgot about the bad.

I shared my best stuff not only with my blogging readership but with the talented writers of the writers' group. They gave me the feedback I needed in order to grow.

I soon began to realize that my goal of publishing a book was attainable.

Upon reviewing my writing I realized how very dear to me this story was. Visualizing a publisher molding and forming it made me churn.* No, the only answer for me at this time was self-publishing. I wanted to tell my story in my words in my way. 

I have always thoroughly enjoyed clicking my knitting needles to the sound of audiobooks. I knew there were many other knitters who felt the same. I was surprised to realize that, (to my knowledge) there wasn't an audiobook written by a knitter for the knitting community. An audiobook that celebrated knitting called out to be written. Was it possible?

Fortunately for me, the man I married had considerable computer skills. It is due to his patience, dedication, and talent that Novelty Yarn has such high-quality sound. 

The family I married into is jam-packed-full of talented musicians--such as my brother-in-law Tim Dyck. He composed and performed the beautiful instrumentals which knit the readings together. 

Self-publishing is a misnomer. Many hands were involved in the creation of Novelty Yarn. From the members of the Mayne Island writer's group who carefully edited it to the island printer who designed the CD cover.

Recently, a friend, clutching the CD in her hands, said, "You should be very proud."

Know what? I am.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Don't be afraid to take that step.

*Later in my writing career, I learned that publishers, editors don't alter a writer's work to serve their own needs. Rather they make suggestions to improve the story.

Next post:  
The Lure of Yarn (short story)is from Novelty Yarn--my first book.
It's a tongue in cheek look at being addicted to knitting. 
Published on April 22nd at approximately 5 PM PT

'Abby beachcombing' ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Spring Cleaning (short story) by Leanne Dyck

'Spring' ldyck

Mom didn't hide her disdain for our messy basement. "Oh, that man and his endless clutter."
So when Mom and Dad left for the day, I rolled-up my sleeves and descended the stairs. Rock walls and floor, I felt like a bear in a cave. In a corner, a room was framed in 4 x 4. Inside:  rows and rows, towers and towers of boxes. Dad's stuff.
My plan:  anything of value would stay; trash would go.
Many of the boxes were full of books--mostly Reader's Digests:  mildew copies, some dating back to the 1920s. I tore out interesting articles and trashed the rest.
When my parents returned I was thrilled to show them the progress I'd made.
Looking back, I'm amazed at Dad's reaction. He didn't scream or blame. He just looked at the remains of his collection with calm acceptance. 

photo ldyck

Next post: How I Wrote my First Book
This article was published in a knitting newsletter several years ago. On Sunday, April 15 at (approximately) 5 PM PT, I'll share it with you. Now, years later, I don't agree with everything I wrote but... I do bravely on.

'Abby supervising docking' ldyck

Sharing My Author Journey...

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Gloves in my Pocket (poem) by Leanne Dyck

As the weather chills, I stick gloves into my pocket and, with a smile, chant this poem--it all helps to warm me.

photo ldyck

Gloves in my Pocket

I've got gloves in my pocket
Yes, I have two of them
Gloves in my pocket, gloves in my pocket

I've got gloves in my pocket
I know how to use them
Gloves in my pocket, gloves in my pocket

I've got gloves in my pocket
They have holes in them
Gloves in my pocket, gloves in my pocket

I've got gloves in my pocket
I need a new pair of them
Gloves in my pocket, gloves in my pocket

I've got gloves in my pocket
Now several pairs of them

Gloves in my pocket
Gloves in my pocket
Gloves in my pocket

Next post:  Spring Cleaning (short story)
If you have a collection this short story will be especially meaningful for you.
Published on Sunday, April 8th at (approximately) 5 PM PT

Sharing my author journey...

What does a writer do without computer ink?