Slowwww…

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Creative Commons Stock Photos | Dreamstime.com

In our culture, “slow” doesn’t usually equate “good.” We’re all about a fast-paced lifestyle—fast food, fast lanes, and, in my case, fast writing. Last year I tried to turn myself into a speed-writing machine, churning out stories as quickly as I could. And I burnt out, forgot to fill the well and ended up with no ink in the inkwell.

Reading about the Danish concept of hygge in Pia Edberg’s The Cozy Life has helped me in this regard. I’m being more intentional, doing little things like really enjoying the taste of a cup of tea with honey or listening to good music while I do chores. Hygge is all about coziness or homey-ness, relaxing with friends and family or even by ourselves, especially during the cold winter months.

This year I’ve resolved to do differently, to pace myself and allow my stories to unfold at a natural pace. And it’s working. The characters in Spellfire’s Kiss are whispering in my ear once more, and I’m leaning into the story and working on revisions. I’m starting to see my writing as less of a machine and more of a garden. Seeds sprout in their own time, and it takes lots of tending, weeding, watering, and nurturing for things to come to fruition.

We tend to do a lot of comparing in our society, and I’m trying to step away from that. What matters is that I want to spend my life creating cool stuff. In my case, that’s primarily the stories I write. I want to put my stories out into the world, to share them because creating and sharing my creations brings me a great deal of joy—and I hope that my creations give others a lot of joy.

This week, in the spirit of allowing my story to unfold naturally, I wrote 3,361 words in Spellfire’s Kiss. Michael now has a character arc that feels organic to the story, and the new ending I’ve written has so much more resonance than the original one. I hope to finish Michael’s character arc next week and start revising existing copy, with the goal of sending this story to my critique partners by the end of March.

On the reading front, I’m currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance by Julia Cameron.

As far as home-keeping, I’m about to start painting the living room a rich blue called “Highland Loch.”

In the winter, my energy tends to wane, but as the days grow longer I want to get back into a regular schedule of blogging and visiting others’ blogs as well as expanding my activity on other social media.

For me, 2017 is all about slowing down and allowing things to unfold, not rushing through life—including the stories I tell.

What about you? How are your goals coming along? Have you experienced the pressure to do things more rapidly—your art or your lifestyle? And have you ever felt the need to slow down in your writing—or life in general?

denise signature

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10 thoughts on “Slowwww…

  1. I love everything about this post! Especially your analogy of your WIP as a garden rather than a machine. That’s the kind of thing that I could use in a pretty graphic printed out and stuck to my desk.

    My partner is always telling me to relax more, since I tend to power through my tasks and then exhaust myself. I’ve just moved to a very busy section at work from one that was a lot more slow-paced and that has been a bit overwhelming, but we do keep saying within our team that we can only do what we can do each day, and it’s not a life or death situation if we get behind.

    • Job changes are their own sort of stressful. Often exciting, yes, but stressful too. I like that you’re in an atmosphere where the team realizes it’s not life or death. Too often in the workplace it doesn’t feel that way.

      I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks, Emily!

  2. Unschooling my kids from the time the were 4 and 7 has done wonders for my ability to slow down. It was amazing, once I slowed down, how much time (not to mention joy!) I’d wasted in rushing.

    I have a personal mission. I strive to do only what either brings me joy or what supports that which brings me joy. I’m not always successful, but I’ve gotten better with a few years’ practice at it. These days, when I do impose pressure on myself, I remind myself to take a deep breath and assess.

    It helps tremendously!

    I’m happy you’re finding a pace that works for you, and that your characters are on whispering terms again.

    • I love your philosophy. Too often we give our energy to things that don’t bring us joy. That’s one thing I learned from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s all about only keeping things that “spark joy.” We can carry that to other parts of our lives, and only devote our time to those things that bring us joy. You’ve truly implemented this, and I admire that.

      Thanks, Shan!

  3. I needed this, Denise. Many thanks for this post and for your own personal discovery…. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve helped many people by creating it. (And it sounds like you’ve found the joy in your process you once had too.)

    • I’ve only recently discovered it, but if you’re interested, The Cozy Life is a quick read and a great introduction to hygge. Learning about hygge has definitely helped reinforce my desire to embrace a life of simple pleasures. If you do read The Cozy Life, let me know what you think!

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