Our culture is getting faster and faster. Speed limits and internet speeds are rising. More and more, we expect instantaneous responses from people we contact, and we contact them in a number of forums to try to get them to respond even faster. We want checkout lines to be non-existent, and we spend our days moving from one obligation to another, blowing our horns at anyone who slows us down. At least, this is what I do. I want to be a cheetah.
But writing is the anti-thesis to all this speed, if we allow it to be. Writing is slow. It takes consideration and time. It requires us to be more than do. Writing is like a sloth – it travels purposefully, one inch at a time. Moss grows on its back, greening up its very body.
As writers, we can learn from the sloth. One word, one sentence at a time. The tiny progress of moments. Each savored.
For our work to be good, it has to be steeped in time. Days, weeks, months, years.
When we try to push our writing to the speed we expect in the rest of life, it’s shallow. It’s insistent and needy.
Good writing needs to rest. It needs space and breath and time. It can’t be rushed to mean.
There is more to life than efficiency. More to writing than product. There is process and practice, breath and settling in.
Perhaps it is the job of writers to be counter-culture in this. To slow down. To show the merit in space. To show that good things grow slow, like fruit or friendship.
How does writing help you to slow down?