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From Writing First Draft to Re-writing: Note to Self

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I began my writing journey with the fear of writing. I would do most mundane tasks to put off writing. Gradually, I overcame this fear by forming a habit of writing everyday. It was an uphill task and it took me more than a year to start writing everyday. This exercise made me comfortable with writing. I am not saying that I write everyday now but I find it comparatively less difficult and I write quite regularly. This was the first milestone in my writing journey.

I reached my second milestone when I began reading Paris Review Interviews. These interviews taught me to perceive writing as essentially re-writing. It is in the process of re-writing that we gain control over our writing. This idea inspired me to begin my first big writing project. My research for this project was complete and I had ideas I just needed to sit down and write. My first draft was prepared with a lot of anxiety, agony and physical labour in two months. I have written about this experience in my previous posts. The joy of being able to put your thoughts in words in the way I wanted inspired me further and kept me going.

By the time I finished, I was drained physically, emotionally and mentally. I could not sit to read and write further. Then I decided to take some rest. During this time, I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I also looked through some other texts but I did not engage with anything. In retrospect, maybe I should have. It would have kept me going. I was still writing everyday, mostly writing my journal. However, as time went by, I became more and more relaxed in my reading writing routine.

Now it is time for the third milestone and I find myself procrastinating. Like the first one, I have been delaying it for two months now. This time I fear it because it is a humongous task. However, it is most essential. It is the task Paris Review Interviews taught me, that is, re-writing. I have to read my work sentence by sentence and edit or rewrite it. I think I am facing two roadblocks. Firstly, reading triggers writing and I am not spending enough time in reading. Secondly, I realized re-writing like writing requires practice. Cultivating a habit of re-writing everyday along with reading and writing will gradually improve my editing skills.

At present, I am struggling to re-write and edit my writing. In each attempt, I struggle with new kinds of grammatical and pragmatic issues in language. Sometimes, I struggle with the use of ‘but’ or semi-colon, or the issue of re-writing the entire paragraph to make it more accessible and coherent.

My writing journey has been slow. Struggle that accompanies each of these milestones appear daunting in the beginning and requires a lot of hard work and discipline. Sometimes, I want to quit. But the silver lining is that reaching a milestone assures me that I am moving in the right direction. It is this struggle that makes me feel alive.

Learning is fast

This is my second post in the series mommy learns – an experience sharing in my journey of parenthood. If just by reading the title of my post have you decided that my hormones (even after 1.5 years of child birth) are not back to normal and I am contradicting what I said just last week, then hold on….come on! Don’t be too quick to judge.

It has been only one and a half year since I have been blessed with a daughter. The best one and a half year of my life. One thing that I have learnt about myself in this period is that I am capable of loving somebody so much. I did not know this. My husband doesn’t accept this about himself and continues to say that I love you both equally, but come on! Who is he fooling! She is the most important and most loved person in our family. But this post is not about this.

I want to share about how much she has learnt in this time period and how amazingly fast this journey has been.

Let me start by pointing out some of the things that she can do at this point of time: (I know, I know it is an impossible list to make! But some examples can be jotted)

  1. She can walk, run but I don’t think she can jump.
  2. She can say complicated words, joins sounds and says word like and sentence like utterances.
  3. She understands most of the instructions given to her and also ignores when she wants to ignore.
  4. She can go up and down the stairs on her own and yet today morning itself she just lost her balance while taking a step on the plain floor.
  5. She has her likes and dislikes and “knows” what she wants to do or not do. Its not so easy to distract her now.
  6. She likes playing with friends and is unhappy and expresses that when they leave or I try and bring her inside.

And yes……the list can go on….and on….

But these are examples of her physical, cognitive, linguistic and social developments. She is becoming a person in her own right! With opinions, choices, tastes, an understanding and awareness of “I”.

Lets take the first example, physical development of a very complex skill of walking. Walking is often defined as a continuous act of preventing oneself from falling. As soon as you take one foot off the ground, you are in an unbalanced unstable position and then you bend forward and quickly place the foot to be stable again. But you don’t step there, you repeat the process again. Though we all want to be in a stable state and yet to move forward (both physically and metaphorically) have to leave the state of stability or you can say by will put yourself in a state of uncertainty and then reach stability again. So, when she started walking, now obviously I am speculating, but I would like you to speculate with me. When she started walking, her desire to reach a place or an object currently away from her was so strong that she decided to take the risk of falling and took her foot up from the ground. In those days, she would not walk…but run….why? I think because she was not confident of her ability to get the foothold again and was probably consciously doing the act of risk the fall- and get the foothold.

So, when I say learning is fast…very very fast….I see this small baby wrapped in a sheet unable to suck, not sure how to breathe becoming into a willful naughty risk taking communicative toddler in just a year and a half.

Mommy Learns

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This post is written by Richa Goswami, an EPTAF member.

It is not surprising to me anymore that Piaget became Piaget by observing his children. I am a mother of an eighteen-month-old super naughty girl. And I learn with her all the time, I would like to use this space on the blog to share with you my learning. I don’t think I would really come up with a new theory or anything…but there are things about child development that I am learning on a daily basis and losing too due to my laziness to document.

Documentation is important as the process of writing will make me analyze more and learn more….

So, the first and most important thing that I have learnt since she was born is that learning and development is a slow process…..very slow process…

She seems to be on the verge of learning something and then months would go, before she would make any progress. I would share some examples and other readers can share more…you may be parents or uncles and aunts….we all have seeds of being a Piaget all around us, we just never water them

  • I would start with the time when she was 2.5 or 3 months old. Let me start by humbling informing you that I have studied child development and also worked in preparing child development papers for teacher trainees of two states… so wouldn’t I know what to expect. To add to it, I am also one of the google-everything-moms (who isn’t these days). So to cut the long story short I knew that rolling over is a milestone she would achieve by 5 or 6 months age. But there are two more things….worth sharing (at least I believe that): first, my daughter is preterm by two months so the doctors had told me that her developmental milestones may be (the doc said “would be”) delayed by two months. And secondly I am not much believer in milestones anyways….My education has made me skeptical of that and a follower of individual difference. So one Sunday when she was a little less than three months and we saw her roll over…once….twice…thrice….we were thrilled (like most new parents are) “We have got this exceptionally fast baby”……and then the worry, “oh….we need to be very careful now…she can roll over…it wouldn’t be long that she would start successive roll overs and may fall from bed”…..but that’s about it…she did not roll over after that…not until she was almost six months old….in the mean time for many months she would just go on one side and get stuck….but when the time came she learnt that on her own her own and much more…
  • Similarly I remember the time when she learnt to sit and then stand from a squatting position…she would stand near the table and non stop do sit ups….we were amazed…how many times she did the same thing…but she would untiringly and happily do it.
  • And the time when she was ready to walk….This is the time when she had mastered walking by holding…and was about to take her first independent steps…when I saw this I said “may be in a week she would start walking….” But weeks passed….and then there was a stage when she started leaving whatever she was holding and would balance herself but not move….and I waited with breath held…”she is abut to walk” but days passed and then one day we noticed she was walking on her own….but this was much later than we had expected….
  • The last example that I would like to share is about her current phase…is about talking. She is a talkative child (no surprises there!) she non stop communicates, asks, responds, demands or comments…though we understand very few words from what she has said….and she has been like that for more than two-three months…and I the resolute non learner have been making announcements for two three months now, “she speaks so much and such long things….in a few weeks she would start talking …dekhna” but my darling is obviously proving me wrong….she is happily continuing in her own language….and is in no hurry

So, the point is learning and development (I think development has a bit of learning in it) is a slow process…a very slow process…. children take their time and are happy in the journey…unlike us….

Happy learning

Ciao (till next week….coz mommy loves talking too)