Speed Isn't Everything
I’m a writer: reflective, imaginative, and contemplative.
For a long time, I thought I would never get to use my skills. I thought my writing could only be a hobby. I even thought I needed to have a more prosaic career. After all, in our technology-driven world, everything is about being faster, better, and more efficient.
The food industry is a perfect example of this. Superstores are stocked with individually packaged drinks and meals. Our favorite fast food restaurants are the ones that have the fastest drive-thrus. Inside restaurants, phones are out, and customers exasperatedly eye their waiter or waitress.
This fast-paced culture fuels the pressure that writers feel. The majority of blog posts about writing often have titles like “How to Write a Novel in 6 Months” or “How I Made $10,000 My First Month Blogging”. These examples reflect the notion that every pursuit must quickly lead to a fruitful outcome.
Writers no longer feel free to take their time.
As a methodical writer, I struggled with this for a long time. I felt that if I was writing to make money or get published, I wasn’t a real writer. Then, I discovered “The Art of Slow Writing” by Louise DeSalvo.
Quite frankly, it changed my world; or at least, my literary world.
Like most writers, DeSalvo was once a victim of writing too hastily, but after incurring an injury, she was forced to reorient her approach. In her book, DeSalvo wrote that she “wondered why hurriedness had taken over [her] life. This newfound sense of peace from taking time to linger and enjoy the world…was blissful” (DeSalvo, 2014, p. xx).
These revelations lead DeSalvo to conduct her study on slow writing, evaluating the validity of it. In addition to her personal experience, she found that many other famous writers, including John Steinbeck, Virginia Woolf, and Stephen King supported her discovery.
Years after her breakthrough, DeSalvo promised her readers, “you’ll enjoy writing more if you focus on the process rather than the product” (DeSalvo, 2014, p. 225).
Since reading this book, I have felt less ashamed of ambling through my writing and revising process. My work is better, and my words are more precise. Most importantly, I enjoy it.
DeSalvo, L. A., (2014). The art of slow writing: Reflections on time, craft, and creativity. New York: St. Martins Griffin.