Feb. 5, 2023: The Value of Slow
“Being present” and “mindful” seem to be two terms that are all around us right now. Almost any reading related to productivity, goals, mental health, or balanced living, will include these concepts. Both help us to focus on the present and embrace the moment. In essence, they encourage us to slow down.
Slowing down can be extremely powerful. The problem is that we live in a world filled with rushing. No one drives the speed limit. Instant products are much more valued than those that are not. The end product or goal is what is important, not the process. This all combines to put pressure on us all to ‘hurry up and finish’.
I often see this with my students (both elementary and college level) where the goal becomes to finish the assignment or activity quickly. Get it done fast and check it off the list. While I appreciate and sometimes fall victim myself to this task-oriented approach to things, this is also when quality is often compromised for the sake of quick.
I see this with many of my fellow writers. Getting a manuscript done quickly is the goal. While deadlines are certainly real and part of our life as authors, there are many parts of our process that are within our control. Our writing schedule, our project pace, our submissions. These are all things over which we not only have control, but which become the driving force for much of what we do. Writers are eager to get the next manuscript out there, so will often work through the drafting of the work as if they were a marathon runner focused on the finish line. Then will rush the project through the feedback and revision stage in order to get it out there. Writers may begin to submit a project, send out queries, or (if they are self-publishing) rush it to press, before the work is truly ready. This can result in work that is not the best it could be. Quality suffers.
Yet, ask anyone to slow down, and you are met with rolling eyes, exaggerated shrugs, and sarcastic responses. No one feels like they have the time to slow down. Slowing down does not seem like the pace of achievement. We feel we must dash toward success if we are to win this game of life.
But slow is not procrastination. Slow is not avoidance. Slow is not lazy. When writing, slow is powerful. Taking our time when drafting a story will result in a much deeper narrative. Going through revisions slowly will result in a much more articulate, impactful, and polished manuscript.
There are so many benefits of adopting a slower pace during the writing process.
- Slow allows for consideration and contemplation
- Slow allows us to immerse ourselves in the words and the work
- Slow allows for focus on quality
- Slow allows for a deeper understanding of our work, our goals, and our process
- Slow allows the work to simmer and grow in an organic way
- Slow allows for authentic and deep writing and revision
While there are certainly times when we do not have the luxury of slowing down, when we do, embracing a slower pace can be extremely powerful and rewarding. Even in a society built on fast.