It’s funny how we can be zooming along one minute, then at a complete standstill the next. Life is like that, and so is writing.
That’s exactly what happened when I hurt my shoulder, and so yesterday, I went into hospital for an operation. I was put into the slow lane by a trauma surgeon whether I liked it or not. Actually I did like it, not the operation of course, but because I was forced to just take time for myself. So for obvious reasons I had to pre-write this blog page.
Being forced to slow down is great, because life can be so manic sometimes that we can’t seem to do anything other than survive on auto-pilot. We go through each day on the treadmill of life not really seeing a lot of it. We miss precious moments because of the pace of things. So to be able to slow down is really a gift.
Other writers have written on the subject. On his blog, Steve Laube talks about slow writing –
Steve says that –
‘In some ways writing has become a substitute for the spoken word and we are trying to “talk” as fast as we can to “get it done.” And the loss is ours’.
Both time and life are precious. Rushing through life trying to get as much writing done as possible might not actually be the best thing to do. But slowing down can feel alien to some. To be able to do it we almost need to re-learn our craft. To discipline ourselves to listen, think and wait like Steve Laube also says on his blog –
‘Slow writing is a discipline of waiting. A discipline of silence. A discipline of thoughtfulness’.
To write we often think that we have to get the words onto the page really quickly whilst still maintaining quality. But that isn’t always so. Yes, we want good quality, but we can actually move over into the slow lane and get just as much writing done.
These days there can be a lot of pressure to perform. Some of that comes from our own expectations. But what we should expect is to schedule some slow time to help with our writing. Time to just sit, listen, think and be. To recharge and actually see everything properly. To smell and almost taste the atmosphere, and to afford it the time to soak into our minds in order to use it in our writing sometime later. Your writing can be much more descriptive because of it.
If we must make ourselves do something then let it be the right thing. Writing slowly, with less pressure, and being more aware of our surroundings must surely be better than making ourselves stressed with unreasonable demands. Our words need to come forth in the right atmosphere. One which is conducive to their arrival at the page.
Sometimes we can feel guilty if we don’t try to go full steam ahead with our writing. Like we are letting ourselves and others down if we go any slower than full on. But in reality that is not what happens if we choose to change gears. But what does happen is that we offer ourselves the wonderful opportunity to take in the delicious sights, smells and sounds of our surroundings and the people within them.
Most of us are so lucky. We have a lot of what we might want. But what we don’t always have is time just to be. To listen to what our heart is saying to us. To hear the writer within. To understand what it is saying to us, and asking of us.
One area where I do like to literally be in the slow lane is when I drive on a motorway. Yes, I overtake and don’t crawl at snail’s pace, but I like to really see at least a little of what is around me whilst still driving carefully. The odd glance in the mirror is all that it takes. I also notice how so many drivers are in a hurry. When I worked in London I was the same. Always trying to get somewhere for a meeting, or to see a client. The pace was relentless.
When we are so used to going at that sort of pace it becomes the norm. Unfortunately the norm becomes something which we invariably do without thinking about. We know the route so we just follow it relentlessly to our next meeting or target.
Now is a perfect time to change that. To take the slow lane for your writing, and to see where that takes you. Enjoy.