Jeanette here, with another crocheting metaphor.
During this Christmas season, I crocheted six scarves and a set of coasters. Since I was on a roll, I crocheted three more scarves after Christmas to give to friends who I thought needed a lift. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I do enjoy this pastime and those who receive scarves and coasters always love them. I have a confession to make though: I do it wrong. I hold my hook upside down. At first this frustrated my friend Marion, who taught me last year. No matter how many times she reminded me in her sweet grandmotherly way, “Jeanette, your needle,” I always flipped it back. The traditional method of holding a crochet hook felt awkward and unnatural, while my way allowed me to feel each stitch instead of trying to see them. Finally, Marion gave up. “I think it’s okay. Your stitches look good. It doesn’t seem to be slowing you down.”
Having permission to do what worked for me gave me more confidence, which actually sped me up. I could stop feeling like, on top of being a newbie I also didn’t know how to hold my hook correctly, and focus on the stitches and patterns. Every once in awhile I take another stab at holding it like everyone else does, only to decide, Nah, why mess with what works?
Writing provides plenty of opportunities to feel like we’re doing it wrong. Maybe you outline your novels while all your novelist friends let their characters write the story and try to convince you that their way is the way. Or perhaps you keep reading about moms who save writing until their kids go to bed and wonder if you should plan your days that way too, even though you get plenty of words on paper while your children are in school. I know this sounds unthinkable, but perhaps you decided that Facebook does nothing for your writing career except distract you from work and feed you more information about your friends than you ever wanted to know about them so you (gasp) shut down your page.
Are you doing it wrong?
While we can’t suddenly start ending our sentences with commas or tell a devotional publisher that we prefer to use our own creative format instead of theirs, different does not always equal wrong.
Instead of opting for the middle school peer pressure response to “Why are you doing it like that?” ask yourself these questions:
Do you like your way?
Are you meeting your daily writing goals, at least most of the time?
Are you meeting your deadlines?
Are you breaking rules of grammar, punctuations, sentence structure, or manuscript format?
If your answers are yes, yes, yes, and no then, as my friend Marion would say, “I think it’s okay.” Relax and enjoy your way. You aren’t doing it wrong, just differently.