Days of slow walking are very long:
they make you live longer,
because you have allowed every hour, every minute, every second
to breathe, to deepen,
instead of filling them up by straining the joints.
~ Frederic Gros
My New Year’s Resolution: Go Slow
By nature, I am quick – fast talking, walking, thinking, acting, and directing. Early on, I was proud to be the first one done, the youngest to graduate, to begin a career.
Experience has taught me the downside to ‘fast.’ I have learned how difficult my rushing can be for others; how valuable the pause can be – to reflect, observe, listen; how there is a time for fast and a time for slow.
Writing poetry – a real challenge for my left-brained self – trains me to take it easy, to try this and that, to let drafts sit around, to ask for feedback and wait awhile before revising. This process of making time heightens my connection with intuition and creative spirit.
Nowadays, I intentionally take a walk to break up periods of sitting to write. This habit is reinforced by current books by Louise DeSalvo (The Art of Slow Writing, see book review below) and Frederic Gros (A Philosophy of Walking, see review in my future blog on walking and writing).
In this era of multi-tasking, an increasing number and diversity of voices urge us to take it slow, one step/task at a time. Be mindful, make time by living each moment deeply, leave time for spirit to guide. Make connections with people, places, time. In later life, we can cultivate the benefits when obliged to take it slow.
Make a list of your typical New Year’s Resolutions. Then write about an unusual resolution which you kept or did not keep.
List five resolutions for 2015. Then create an affirming story about your successfully keeping one of them.
The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft & Creativity.
Louise De Salvo; New York: St Martin’s Griffin, 2014.
Louise De Salvo publishes works of fiction and nonfiction. As a self-reflective writer and teacher of writing, she promotes the art of slow writing – inviting writers to slow down the process so that they can do their best work.
This summer, when I was rereading De Salvo’s 2000 book Writing as a Way of Healing, I was especially impressed by her suggestion to keep a process journal for each specific project. The elaboration in this new book makes the process journal a keystone to the writing life. We can use the process journal to work out our plans and vision for the project, to question what is working and what is confusing, and to imagine different ways to move forward. Regular free writing can clarify our feelings about the project, enrich our approach to the work, and enlarge our perspectives. We can use the process journal to identify the next objective as we complete each objective, a strategy to maintain momentum suggested by a number of successful writers. We can also look through the process journal when we get stuck to find where we may have lost the thread.
Here, De Salvo continues to use her experience as a writer as well as the letters and journals of famous authors to demonstrate how thoughtfully stretching out the process of creation can deepen and energize a written work. This slow writing process is outlined in great detail, from imagining a work, to first drafts, through to final revisions and completing a book. Although this volume focuses on the writing life, it offers much to the individual for whom serious writing is but one of their life purposes.
The author invites us “to slow down our lives and our writing process”, to “discover that we’ll connect—or reconnect—with the wellspring of our most profound work.”
Like Slow Food, “slow writing” doesn’t just take time, but makes time.” Slow writing is a meditative act: slowing down to understand our relationship to our writing, slowing down to determine our authentic subjects, slowing down to write complex works, slowing down to study our literary antecedents.
Slow writing is a meditative act. It acknowledges that we are all beginners and insists we cultivate empathy for ourselves because being a writer isn’t easy. Slow writing is a way to resist the dehumanization inherent in a world that values speed. It’s one way to find—or return to—our authentic selves.
To read more, click here: 1-Ryan-De Salvo14-Slow Writing
With this winter solstice shadow photo, I bid you adieu until next time,