Sometimes, Growth is Found in Stillness

I think one of the greatest issues for every writer is realizing that writing is not the act of creating a finished product. No, writing is simply the act of creating something

As young children, we are consistently taught that “slow and steady wins the race,” that what really matters is reaching the end of the line. Yet when we put this into the context of writing, we merely focus on the end goal without realizing that there really is no final product of  writing. We jump over the fact that we’re able to take things slowly and develop our thoughts from there. We beat up ourselves to make our writings flawless and complete. And in the midst of it, we focus so much on this “end goal” that we end up getting caught into an emulsified magic mess of thoughts, claims, and even pieces of evidence. At least this is what I’ve experienced throughout my journey of writing this research paper. 

There goes another saying, a fable about a frog in boiling water: 

Put a frog in boiling hot water and it’ll jump out almost immediately. Put the frog into a pot of cool water as you turn on the stove, it’ll allow itself to remain in the pot until it’s boiled to death.

As grisly it may sound to some, this simply isn’t true. Once the water gets too hot and uncomfortable, the frog will scramble out. I found myself to be that frog who races out as soon as I felt uncomfortable with my writing. 

I constantly reminded myself to bring out the exigence of my paper, however, this led me to feel as if I’m including absolutist language. It’s silly to think since this is a researched argument, but it’s a fear that lingers.

*Types out some explanations* “No, I don’t like that, erase it.”

*Try to type them out again.* “No, erase it again.” 

It felt like an endless cycle because I was being so self-critical of myself. At one point, I had completely walked away from my laptop after closing the 30 tabs I had open because of the frustration and worry that was contained within me.

Yet despite being in the midst of difficulty, there was still a break in the clouds. I grounded myself and opened up those 30 tabs again. I eliminated the ones that I realized weren’t strong enough or necessary to include in my paper. And in doing so, it led me to search for new sources. Being out there to explore articles and journals one after the other, it opened up my mind to even greater subarguments to use within my paper. Integrating certain quotes, tying them back to my argument as well as establishing them in a coherent, organized manner was something that I can say I’ve improved a bit on — in my eyes at least. 

I continue to strive for improvement; being coherent in my writing and thesis claims (specifically in my introductions) are things I currently struggle with. I would like to indulge myself into a series of books once this semester is over in hopes of exploring all the different kinds of writing styles and using it to improve my writing in addition to expanding my scope of knowledge. 

Nonetheless, what’s to be learnt is the common denominator of it all. Writing takes time, improvement takes time, and even realizing where you’re going right or wrong takes time. And while it may feel endless, growth is found in stillness. As moments pass, you grow closer to finding out your flaws, fixing them, and manifesting them. It takes me some time to realize this because of the perfection we were taught to be so natural. Even so, I continue to keep going, learning to be more forgiving of myself, knowing that I am forever evolving and I will never be in the same space I last saw myself in. 

 

2 thoughts on “Sometimes, Growth is Found in Stillness

  1. Hi, Fatima! This blog post was a pleasant read, especially since I felt the same frustration that you did when it came to writing this researched argument paper. I agree that improvement takes time, and that our struggles are the catalyst for our growth as writers. It is also evident that you put your best effort into your work, so it is only natural that you recognize how much you have improved since the start of the fall semester.

  2. yes! I think you perfectly summed up how many of us felt during the research process and the actual drafting of our papers— like a “frog who races out as soon as they felt uncomfortable with their writing.” For me personally, I was also too be busy focusing on my “end goal”, half of it being the fact that I should simply finish the paper and have something to turn in, while the other half of it dealing with perfectionism. Focusing solely on the end goal made me forget that a paper will never be “completely finished” or “finalized” and I ended up getting caught into an “emulsified magic mess of thoughts” like you said. Though having highlighted, bolded, underlined, or even capitalized phrases or bullet points forcing you to go back may be essential for continuous revision, it can often get overwhelming and frustrating. I have also learned to be patient with my writing and understand that these things take time; despite never being finished, having a product that you’re satisfied with is, in my opinion, the end goal we should be focusing on instead.

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