Knitting, Writing, and Love Bubbles (plus a Gnome)

I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where seemingly normal people try to crank out a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. I was making decent progress until last Wednesday, when words failed me. This is the first thing I’ve tried to write since the results of the election. Like millions of others, I was online for hours every day, reading news articles, blog posts, and social media posts. There were so many words out there, reflecting so many emotions and opinions. It became overwhelming and exhausting. After a while, it felt like every word I read removed a word from my own well of creativity. Even reading fiction felt draining rather than transporting. I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to start writing again. And then, just yesterday, I saw this GIF on Facebook. (Thank you to Lynda Mullaly Hunt for posting it!)


Knitted items and GIF by

I was riveted by this little gnome, knitting tiny animated love bubbles and sending them out into the universe. I kept it on my screen for hours. I couldn’t explain why. I mean, sure, it’s really cute, but I’m not a knitter and I’m not obsessed with gnomes – evil, zombie, or your average garden-variety, um, garden gnome.

And then it occurred to me that this little gnome was the perfect metaphor for what all kid lit authors do. We take the fibers of our imagination and twist them into threads. We then spin these slender strands of creative thought into yarns — stories. We knit multiple characters’ stories together into a larger whole and release it into the world. Our books are our animated love bubbles, and we send them out into the universe to tell children that we see them, we hear them, we accept them, we love them. And now, more than ever, children need to hear these messages.

I went to a writing workshop today. The warmth and affection I experienced there has gone a long way to refilling my creative well. I even got to sign my debut book to a young child for the first time. I hope she enjoys my love bubble. I’m ready to continue knitting the next one tomorrow.

Me signing my book for the first time!

Me signing my book for the first time!

Andrea WangAndrea Wang’s debut picture book, The Nian Monster (Albert Whitman & Co.), is a Chinese New Year folktale retelling set in modern-day Shanghai. She has also written seven nonfiction books for the educational market and is working on a middle grade novel. Andrea is a former environmental consultant who now writes full-time. She recently moved from the Boston area to Denver, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a dog that will do anything for food. That pretty much describes her family, too.

You can find Andrea online at and on Twitter under @AndreaYWang.


Filed under Creativity, Uncategorized, Writing and Life

18 responses to “Knitting, Writing, and Love Bubbles (plus a Gnome)

  1. mariagianferrari

    Thank you for this, Andrea!! We need it!! And now I have the image of the bubbles fusing together, spreading rainbows and light!! And how cute that the GIF is from Mochimochiland–it’s a sign!! Much love to you!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you SO much for this – it made me tear up with hope and with love. It’s hard to know what to do, but we DO have control of our writing. We can write and let our readers know we hear them, we see them, we love them. xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carleen M. Tjader

    A great post for these days, thank you. And much success with your new PB.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elly Swartz

    Beyond meaningful. Thank you for this wonderful post and reminder of all the love out there. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrea. ❤ a million times.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for this, Andrea. Through all the millions of words and feelings being expressed right now everywhere, you’ve brought forth what is dear to me as a kidlit author and now it’s crystal clear. Thank you, thank you, thank you! >3

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That was meant to be a heart! ❤


  8. annbedichek

    Love this! I’m trying to write again for the first time since the election today, and I’m going to keep this blog post open to help. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Andrea. Your words (and Jean’s workshop yesterday) have me focusing on the positive I can do. Happy writing to you today!


  10. Lisa

    Love this post, Andrea. I’m so impressed that you could drum up something positive right now. Thank you.


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