Friday, February 04, 2011

Perfectionist

funny pictures - perfectionist kitteh does it right:
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

This picture reminds me of a few things. One of my cats, one of my kidlets and a small part of myself. I used to be more of a perfectionist. I think that is part of the oldest child, overachievers R us mentality. Lack of time and perhaps age have curbed that tendency.

I still struggle with the writing. But having contractual deadlines helps with that. It also helps to realize nothing can be perfect. That lessens the frustrations and feelings of futility I remember in my teens and twenties.

I wish my youngest kidlet could see that now.

Her very first multiplication test with sixes happened last Friday. She got 88 out of 100. I thought that was great. The twelve she missed were problems she didn't have time to answer. But no, she was so upset because she didn't get all of them correct. Anything less than 100% is no good in her mind. This translate to each and every subject. Fortunately she's a pretty sharp kid and usually aces everything. But we're working on how to deal with it when she doesn't.

Yesterday she had to revise a narrative in language arts. She couldn't understand why she had to revise it when all she ended up doing was making mistakes. But the entire lesson was about...drumroll...revising. Yes, she'd written her composition very well considering it was a first draft. But this lesson specifically asked her to add words, details and sentences in order to learn proofreading marks. This frustrated her to no end!

Her: This makes no sense. Why do I have to revise?

Me: Because that's what writers do.

Her: How do you know what writers do?

Me to myself: Is she serious? Okay, she just turned eight a couple weeks ago. But still...

Me to her as I point to one of my books and wonder if I should show her all the books I've published: See Mommy's name. I wrote that book. I'm a writer. I revise. I know lots of writers. They all revise, too.

Her: You know lots of writers.

Me as I realize I've spoken with that same tone of disbelief: Yes.

Her: How many do you know?

Me to myself: Maybe I should have stuck to raising cats. I do a quick calculation of the writers in the various RWA chapters I've belonged to over the years, the ones I've met at conferences and the ones I know online. She is the kind of kid who may want an exact number and ask me to prove it.

Me to her: Hundreds.

Her: That many.

Me to myself: She's going to want to know who they all are. Don't let her go there. You still haven't met your word count goal for today.

Me to her: Yes, and they all revise.

Her: All of them?

Me to myself: Better leave some room in case she decides to do a little research of her own and finds the one author who doesn't revise. Heaven help me, if I happen to know them.

Me to her: Most of the ones I know do. So start revising.

She rewrote the narrative about her trip to Build-A-Bear on her birthday. Unfortunately she forgot a sentence. After some tears and coaxing from me, she added the words and drew an arrow to where it should go.

Her: It's so much easier to write it perfect the first time, Mommy.

Me to myself: I'm sure it is. I'd love to be able to do that. I'm guessing so would a few hundred of my writer friends.

5 comments:

Dru said...

I love her outlook on writing and revising. She'll have more in her future.

LOL at picturing this conversation.

Melissa McClone said...

She is something, which I know you know! Just wait until she visits the Big Apple. She can't understand why we can't stay at The Plaza like Eloise! She woke up this morning and told me she wants to write a book.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: I'm guessing so would a few hundred of my writer friends.

LOL! Amen.

Brandy said...

Quick thinking on your feet! My eight year old hates writing his compositions and paragraphs-it's like pulling teeth.
I bet most writers would like to not to have to revise. *g*

Hope your day has been nice!

Marianne Arkins said...

Her: How do you know what writers do?

I had to pick myself off the floor at that one. ROFL...