Losing a Battle vs. Winning a War

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There is a Tamil proverb that says, Jhaan erinaal muzham sarukkum. If you climb an inch, you slip a feet.

When I started this blog, I wanted to post thrice a week. When that proved to be a mammoth job, I made it Mondays and Fridays. As the year progressed in a blur of writing challenges, workshop appointments and travel plans (not to mention day to-day routines, medical woes and happy family occasions), it became once a week, whenever I could update. And now, my last post is a little over a month ago, and I am left in the shambles of my grand intentions.

And the more I lamented about it, the harder it became to start again, and that’s when I realised the destructive power. My laments were not alone. They had company. All around me were the regrets and self-discriminations and resigned sighs, being added in a big pile, straight from the hearts of millions and millions of people who think it’s too late for them.

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It is indeed humbling to know your limitations, your capacity and your weaknesses. Nobody else might know (in my case, you all do!) but if you know of what you are, inside, warts and all – it’s enough, for the self-loathing and self-flogging and self-giving up to start. You may have legitimate reasons (in my case I was trying to complete 50000 words by this month end) but every time you fail, even if it is a minor thing, it settles as one of more nail in the coffin we build ourselves in our mind.

Don’t we? Each day brings us new glimpses into our soul, our desires, our evils, our thirsts. We tally it with the achievements and lives of our peers and friends (don’t you HATE your Facebook home page at times!) and slowly, very slowly, we lose hope in ourselves. That we can ever get better than this. That we ever had it inside us to be better.

And so we begin to harden and forget that we are so much more capable, and we settle for what we are now.

There is a simple solution to this destructive self-evaluation. And that is – to start again.

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The end of your misery? Start again.

The answer to your despair? Start again.

The anti-dote to the heartache? Start again.

The abandoned novel or that passionate project you so enthusiastically began but got stalled in the middle? Start again.

The opportunity you lost to do something about your dream, your aspiration, your desire to be someone in this world? Start again.

Seriously, just brush aside all the cobwebs, sweep away past humiliations and disappointments, and start again. You have had your pity party. You have kicked yourself enough. You have given up so many times, right now there is no other way to deal with the situation than to get up and start again.

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I am pledging to update this blog once a week. Even as I utter the sentence silently, I look behind me, and I see the ruins of my past intentions and I feel a giant stab of fear that I am going to fail again – but so what? I will start again.

Today is a new day. Tomorrow will be a new day. A new day deserves a new beginning. Are you ready to have yours?

Chennai Children’s Writers Meet, 2014

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On this year’s Children’s Day, a group of us – Vasanthi, active educationist; Kundavi, ardent writer; Shalini, journalist-aspiring-to-be-a-teacher; Giri; an engineer looking to make his writing dreams come true – met at Art n Soul (Anna Nagar), and shared thoughts and ideas on Indian children’s literature. I also gave a presentation on children’s writing, and was glad to realise that all four of them were dead serious about creating quality kidlit – I usually do not get a crowd like this!

Here’s what Kundavi says: The Meetup was good and hopefully will be start of good friendships and writing groups among us all. It will definitely be the diving board for all of to leap into good children’s writing! Radhika really packed as much as she could into it as well as allowed for spontaneous exchange of ideas and experiences. Thank you Radhika 🙂

If you’d like to know more about the workshops I offer, do visit http://www.meetup.com/Childrens-writers-in-Chennai/. Membership at Meetup.com is free and if you need specific details, feel free to write to me and I will be happy to clarify your doubts.

Remember, you don’t need to be based in Chennai to enroll in my online workshops and take the first step towards writing your children’s short story, picture book or novel!

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