Friday, 30 July 2010

Speaking Of Meaning.

My gorgeous Goddaughter is growing up. * Sniff *

Okay she's only nineteen-months-old, but it feels like she may as well be off for her first day at school. Since I came back off holiday I've discovered she's started to talk in sentences.

During a visit to my house yesterday she burst into the opening line of Ba-Ba black sheep. She also does an excellent Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

So, being the over-imaginative weirdo I am, I started to think of writing sentences.

When we write it's very much like a child learning to talk. We know what we want to say, but the words come out garbled or our meaning is misunderstood. As we introduce more words to our vocabulary, we learn to create cohesive sentences and can state what we mean.

It may still be open to interpretation, but that's the nature of language. :)

Two hundred words into chapter four of my wip last night I re-read what I had written, groaned and hit the delete key. At first I was frustrated. I knew what I wanted to say but the meaning was lost. So I remembered my goddaughter and started again and, just like her, this time it came out clearer.

I guess even when we're adults we're still learning to speak, or write, so people can understand us.

Happy Friday :)

21 comments:

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Great analogy! I've been there, typing blocks of paragraphs only to delete them. I know people say to turn off your inner editor and push forward; leave the fixing for later drafts. But when what I've written doesn't SAY what I meant to say, well, it meets a swift and painless demise.

Toddlers learning to talk don't seem frustrated by the process -- maybe there's a life lesson in there...

Happy Friday!

Matthew Rush said...

Great story Lindsay, I think you have a very valid point here. Sometimes we can lose sight of the wonder that is language, and when we find it again, there is beauty in that rediscovery.

Today's guest blogger is Rose Cooper!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

What a gorgeous analogy. It's so true, though. So true! Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget that perhaps taking things slower ends up being better. That's why I don't rush to get through my first drafts. I'd rather have a concise first draft so that I can make shine the second time round! Great post!

Justine Dell said...

Language is a weird thing. It's easy enough to talk (most of the time), but when it comes to writing, it requires some thought. You could be brilliant at putting your "thoughts" down on paper or you could stink. Either way, it's hard.

~JD

Vicki Rocho said...

Another lesson to be taken from this: Do kids give up when what they are trying to say escapes adult understanding? Nope, they keep trying, over and over until the grown up 'gets it'. And so we should not give up either!

Amparo Ortiz said...

"I guess even when we're adults we're still learning to speak, or write, so people can understand us"--Totally agree with you.

Don't worry about hitting Delete. Most of the time, what you end up writing in that second attempt is way better.

Best of luck with your awesome WIP!!!

Janet Johnson said...

I have so been there. But at least it came out clearer the second time. Kids are great inspiration. :)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

This is so true - taking it a step at a time, sometimes reading over and thinking, "Well, I guess I know what I mean, but nobody else will." Alas!
I'm glad you got the words out clearer the second time, though. Practice makes perfect - at least, that's what they keep telling me. :)

Jaydee Morgan said...

Perfect analogy! It takes time, patience and practice to get those words from our head onto the page correctly.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love that analogy - listening to kids at that age is priceless :)

I'm always so glad we have the option to edit!

Renae said...

What a sweet story and so true. I love that analogy. Great post!

Bluestocking said...

Ugg... so much of my writing is prewriting. It's frustrating. It can take so long to get the words down the first time around only to realize it's a far cry from what you envisioned. You can only try again, but I'm a firm believer that you need that first round of crap to refine what you want to say and make it (hopefully) better than it was before. Happy revising!

Tahereh said...

what a lovely post and a beautiful parallel. thanks so much for sharing :D

have a fantastic weekend!

Lydia Kang said...

Language in writing is like a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you just have to keep trying to get better at it.
Your god-daughter sounds so adorable!

Kimberly Franklin said...

I've never really thought of it like that, but I imagine it is kind of like that. And I completely understand your frustration. Lately, I know what I want to say but can't seem to get it out in words. It sucks!

Happy Friday!

Theresa Milstein said...

I completely get that analogy. The rough draft is toddler chatter, and then we progress in our sentence structure.

Your goddaughter is at my favorite age. They change so much between 18 months and 2 years. And with each change, they're that much farther away from babyhood.

Susan Fields said...

18 months to 2 years was my absolute favorite age with my kids. Enjoy your goddaughter at this wonderful time in her life!

Talli Roland said...

I love this comparison - so true! I can just picture you two together, savouring the language.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Jen said...

This was awesome Lindsay! So well said, I think the next time I get stuck I'll remember this!

Missed Periods said...

One of my students' main comments is that they know what they want to say but they just don't know how to get it out of their head onto paper.

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