Today I may have figured why I don’t like writing.
A couple of days ago I saw on Plinky the prompt “What is your earliest memory?”. That got me trying to figure out how far back I can remember events in my life. I concluded that I cannot recollect anything before I was five years old (I know of things that happened but I don’t remember experiencing them).
As I was recalling memories one particular scene came up vividly – my mother, my sister and I, in winter, sitting cozily under the bed covers, while my mother and I were doing my school homework!
I should point out that when I went to primary school, in Portugal, four decades ago, the schooling system was very different from what it is now. For a start there were lots more children, especially in the countryside and we had no sports or any extra curricular activities.
My school consisted of two classrooms and the only way all children could be accommodated was by having two ‘shifts’ – some of us went to school in the mornings and others in the afternoon.
Less time in class meant more homework and the reason my mother would help me was that in the first couple of years I made lots of spelling mistakes. As homework, my teacher would get me to write each wrongly spelled word 100-200 times! So, when I say my mother was doing my homework with me, that’s exactly what I mean. While I was doing my math or other work she was painstakingly writing some of my words over and over!
I had the same strict teacher, for the 4 years of primary school. By the end of it my spelling was as close to perfect as it could be and the Teacher was very proud of me.
As I was thinking about this it suddenly occurred to me that this experience is probably the reason why I don’t like writing and why I am a stickler for proper spelling and grammar. As it turns out, this has been a big handicap as the fear of making mistakes and the constant struggle for perfection stops me from writing spontaneously or even just writing.
I say in my About page that “it is hard for me to convert my thoughts into writing but I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.” It had not occurred to me until today that this learning experience may have been the source of my uncomfortable relationship with writing.
Now the question is, will knowing this make any difference? I don’t know, but what I do know is that it makes me want to practice writing even more. It also makes me realize that I don’t need to be so hard on myself – so what if my writing isn’t beautiful and fluid, so what if I make grammatical mistakes? I am just going to keep going, in the hope that one day I’ll feel nearly as comfortable with writing as I do with speaking.