Friday, December 13, 2013

The Long View & Trying Again

Chicken Dinner Socks

I don't know if it's because I come from a background in newspapers, where today's work is tomorrow's recycling, but the long timeline on some of my designs sometimes gives me pause.

I knit the prototype for my Chicken Dinner Socks in June of 2012. They were published 15 months later.

I just signed a contract for a (needs to be secret for now, sorry) project that is set to be published in September of 2014. The first swatch of what later became that design is from early July of this year. So, that will be 15 months, too.

Maybe 15 is my lucky number!

But three also seems to be my lucky number. I once asked a photographer who had won a grant to continue her work what made the difference between the two years that she was rejected and the third year she was accepted.

"Different judges," she said. That was it. She and her work were both the same.

When I develop a design idea I really like, I submit it to three places before I make a final decision to self-publish or scrap it.

I don't do them all at once (that would be rude!) and I don't just throw whatever I've been doing into the hopper and see what comes out (that would just waste everyone's time). I just usually have three or four ideas simmering that I think are ready to be seen. When I read a design call that sounds like it might fit, I polish one up (or cook up a new one) and send it.

Sometimes rejection makes me rethink an idea or change a design element. Sometimes I reassess and decide I like it even more than before. I always keep in mind that choosing a body of work has a lot of factors involved. Just because a design didn't work as part of a group (or doesn't match someone else's idea of an awesome knit) doesn't mean that it doesn't have merit.

More than once, the third publication I have sent an idea to has said, "Yes!" Again, I will never know for sure if the stars are aligning at that particular moment or if the previous two rejections made me sharpen my presentation/idea that much more.

After all:

"The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work."
- Thomas A. Edison 

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