I’m trying to re-frame my writing mindset to match my parenting mindset. In that I’m trying to have more patience, trying to allow both my children and my writing some room to explore their own worlds while my arms are ready to catch either if they fall.
I have a son who is a little over one year old and who is three and half years younger than his sister. Comparing the two was always inevitable and it does provide some conversation between my wife and I that is far safer than discussing the world’s other 4.5 and 1 year olds. My son has been slow to pick up most milestone aspects, except those involving motor skills. in this category he far outpaced my daughter. He can do some things that she still struggles with. But in the area of language, he reluctantly has picked up a few words, while my daughter was saying her own name by this point as well as some variations of the characters on Sesame Street. My son likes to say “dog” and “ball”, but in the last couple of months he has made great strides in learning how to communicate his wants and needs, employing a lot of pointing, a few pieces of sign language and saying something close to “this” and “that.” It’s amazing how persistent he is even though he can’t fully state what he wants. It’s this persistence and patience that i want to apply to my own writing.
One year olds both gratefully and frustratingly, don’t understand the concept of time. They want everything right this instance, but they also don’t understand the concept of falling behind, of not hitting each milestone precisely or early. I, on the other hand, have an anxious sense of time, thinking that I’ve missed my milestone for writing a novel, for having a writing career, for becoming better well known as a writer. My MFA director, informed my upon graduating that I had 3 years to write a novel or I’d be off track. It’s been 6 years since I’ve graduated and still the several “novels” I’ve started languish on my computer’s hard drive. Just thinking about some of the time I’ve wasted makes my stomach clinch up, wondering might have been. None of this anxiety or thoughts help to shape a healthy mindset toward writing and are detrimental any time I look at the blank page.
So how can I be more like my son? Try, persist, ask for help, try again. Nothing put on a journal page or a word processor is permanent. No milestone has a true time table. What can I do in this instance to communicate? Because with this mindset, like that of 1 year old. I will move forward. I will make progress. If you find yourself stuck in any project, take the time to watch a child, marvel at their perseverance, their trust that their is always another opportunity. Be stubborn. Have joy. Make mistakes.