A Case For Slow Writing
Those of us with Italian backgrounds will know that you don’t make an authentic pasta sauce in an hour. It should be cooked slowly, the ingredients added one by one, at the right time.
First the meats must be browned, next the onions, the herbs, spices and tomatoes incorporated. Then the mixture must simmer for two, three, four hours until it is a thick, mouthwatering sugo, the succulent meat falling off the bones….
It’s good to cook slowly.
But this is a writing blog, right? Yes.
And it’s okay to write slowly too, blending words, sentences and paragraphs together, adding them to just the right part, in the proper sequence.
Time spent writing can often look like this:
You write a few lines, the thoughts are flowing. You’re in the zone. Then life rips you out after what seems like a mere five minutes. You go back to the computer, type another line or two, only to be summoned by the real world again.
If this describes you, don’t worry — the story still brews while you attend to reality, the words sub-consciously simmering as you do what you need to.
There are only two situations when you really must write fast:
1. When you have a contract or a time limit. Writers quickly learn to write with speed when they have a pressing deadline. Students know the perils of handing in late assignments.
2. When you write for a living. If writing is the only way you earn money, then your income is tied to your output.
The rest of us are free to savour our writing if that’s what we want to do. Incidentally, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King are two of many authors who wrote novels at a snail’s pace. And there are lots of valid reasons why writing might take a long time.
- have a life.
- are just starting.
- don’t need the money.
- are a meticulous researcher.
- like looking for exactly the right words.
- need time to gather your thoughts and assemble the most salient.
Or maybe you write simply because, fast or slow, it’s good for your soul. Amen.
Whether you take a day or three to write a brief article, a month or four to produce a short story, a year or more to draft a novel, I’m here to say, it’s okay to take your time. While ever you are making progress and you haven’t given up, if writing makes you happy, there’s no reason to feel guilty about doing it slowly.
Savour each word, each sentence, each paragraph.
About the Author: C. G. is a freelance writer. Her blog is named for the trees surrounding her home where she loves to play with words ─ the words sort themselves into stories at regular intervals.
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