What a day! It is 10.30pm. Another hour and a half and I would have missed writing my 500 for the day. Truth be told I’d much rather be sleeping right now. I am that tired – mentally and emotionally. But writing has always helped me unravel the knots of my mind.

A weekday, today, has been as busy as any other day. My 24 hours have stretched and grown and shrunk throughout the day. And then for 15 whole minutes it stood still. I was tucking my 9 year old into bed but she just could not sleep. And then the tears started sliding down those cheeks that still remind me of a helpless toddler. Her best friend in class was leaving the school tomorrow for another one. It was the end of this great friendship.

My heart broke, because I know how final it can all seem. I muttered the usual platitudes – you will meet again; I will organize play dates; you can talk on the phone. My girl looks at me at says, “But ma, it will not be the same.”

No my child, it will not be the same. Things change. Always. We can go mad trying to stop them from changing, but change is relentless. This is one of the toughest and most necessary lessons of life and I wish there was an easier way to learn this. I wish I could gather her in my arms and protect her from all those changes that threaten to hurt her.

Luckily for her, wiser consul prevails. That and the fact that I really can’t protect her from all the changes that she will have to deal with in her life. These little battles of life make her tougher and more capable of handling the even tougher changes that will occur in her life – puberty, leaving home for college, heartbreak, realising that one can fall in love more than once, the challenges of a workplace, working towards achieving your dreams, marriage, parenthood… God!

Sometimes memories of a younger me slip in through my protective, well-guarded walls of adulthood. And I remember the child that was me. I feel the tears well up as I realise how brave a kid I was. I realise how brave my daughter is. How singularly brave every single one of us who chooses to become a parent is cause, watching our children walk, trip, fall down, and get up, to only trip and fall over again… is one of the most heartbreakingly vulnerable acts out there.

Ah forgive me… I am whining and rambling at the same time. I think it is because I am feeling so raw today. I can handle my child crying because she fell down and scraped her knee badly, but when the tears are because her heart is sad… I am at a loss.

For now, I am going to go and lie down next to her and cuddle up to her. I have a few more years of that and then she will be a teen and, from what I have heard, will change and not want to cuddle so much. Goodnight.

500 Words A Day

This is the first of my 500 words a day challenge. I hope to start doing the 500 words as writing for my novel from tomorrow. But for today, this is it. My motivation for taking up this challenge is to get into the habit of writing every day. I need to work on my discipline and consistency. On one day I would write 2000 words and then not touch my laptop for the next 4 days!

I consider myself a writer but feel rather fake at the same time and I think it is rooted in the fact that I don’t write every single day. I was watching (or listening) Jeff Goins webinar about writing and it was quite an eye opener. I realised that I needed a lot more clarity about what my blog was meant to do. I need to divide my blog in to sections and focus on my pieces on traveling, my poems and my life and motherhood articles and features.

I need to link it up with interesting websites also. I should ask for help from some technically savvy person. *Hint hint* people!

And then there is the email list that Jeff spoke about. I am not so sure about it, because it feels like promotion. But if I want my blog to speak for me and my writing and hopefully help me get a publishing deal then this is something that I will have to consider.

I also like the idea of guest posting though it is not something that I have ever considered seriously until right now. But he is right. It is a community out there. And if I want to belong to a community I have to participate. This is so different a way to approach creativity from the way, say, Joni Mitchell, approached it. She wrote and sang to please an audience of one – herself. She listened to her critics, but at the end of the day her work was dictated by her own insights and opinions.

But we live in a very different world. Even writers have to network… shudder… That 7-letter-word is more of a swear word than some four letter words out there. But like Jeff, maybe I need to look at networking differently. In my head, networkers who use the internet and social media are often likened to a spider sitting all alone in a corner, weaving a web that reaches out and traps the poor unsuspecting victims. Instead of limiting it to ‘a selfish pursuit and wooing of individuals who can be of assistance and benefit to you,’ maybe I should think of it as offering your services to fellow creatives and building a web of mutual support. Maybe I should replace the word network with web-work.

Whatever you call it, it doesn’t change one all-important basic fact. In this age of self-publishing, marketing, book tours and blogging, writing is no longer something you do all alone. I love the imagery and idea of Henry Thoreau and his cottage… the physical isolation and heightened emotional and intellectual connection it fostered. I imagine my hero R.W. Emerson sitting in front of a cheery fire and churning out his essays with an almost spiritual sense of solitude. But I live in a world where my mobile beeps, pokes and vibrates. I am so plugged in, tuned in and connected that I am surprised that my head hasn’t sprouted a power station! And I need to find a balance. And peace. And discipline. 500 words a day.