The Art of Writing Slowly

There’s no need to rush the process.

There is a wooden table with uneven slats. On it, a notebook and pencil sit next to a white tropical flower, a yellow coffee mug full of rich coffee, and a wooden spoon. Beyond the table is a view of an out-of-focus outdoor space. This is the epitome of how to write slowly.
Writing with coffee and a view. Licensed from paladin1212, Adobe Stock

Start with a thought and roll it around in the centre of your mind until it snowballs into an entire idea. Look at it from all angles. Admire it. Then add to it, padding the sides that need rounding out, shaving down the ones more bulbous than is called for.


Consider your snowball of an idea once more. Then, let it melt and stream out of you, its conduit. Feel the words trickle from your mind to the tips of your fingers. Reach for a pen that writes smoothly, a well-worn keyboard that feels like home, or your favourite dictation app if that’s the way you create.


Pause with a word to ensure it means exactly what you think it does and play with its synonyms, knowing you won’t use any of them. Write the word with a flourish, when you’re finally sure it’s the one you want.


Scratch out a phrase and stare out the window. Get lost in the scene before you, with no concern for the passing time. Forget what you were doing, where you are, relish in reflection as it overcomes you.


Watch the bird flitting past with a worm for its babies and think of a time when you were the provider. Recall the sacrifices you made, the risks you took to bring home a meal for your family. See the scurrying squirrel and be transported to the playful days of your youth when responsibilities were few. Notice a burgeoning sapling for the first time. Wonder how you’d missed its growth until now. Allow the clouds to be reminiscent of swirling steam rising from a cup of hot tea.


Tea?


Come back to the moment and rise to fix yourself a pot. Delight in the ritual of boiling water, pouring it slowly over loose leaves, their fragrance rising to meet your nostrils with a hundred memories, all contained in one single inhale. Cover the tea with a cozy and wait. Enjoy the interval required to turn dry leaves and water into an exquisite infusion. Good things take time. Wonderful things take longer still.


Wander the hallway while your tea steeps. Remember your idea. Get a rush of inspiration for how to describe it. Return to your story and scribble, tap, or speak your thoughts quickly, while you’re graced by the muse.


Impress yourself. Take in the beauty of your words as if having an out-of-body experience. Hear your story through the ether as it spills onto the page. Listen to the sound, like raindrops on a forest floor covered in pine needles or like leaves rustling in an auspicious wind. You made that happen. With just a thought, rolling in your mind and melting its way out.


Take a deep breath as the flow state tapers off. Witness your pages, once blank, now filled with your creation.


Remember the tea.


Step away and pour yourself a cup of your herbal beverage, now the perfect temperature for sipping. Sense the earthy flavour dancing on your tongue. It’s a celebration of your accomplishment. Take a moment to feel triumphant for turning your inspiration into something tangible that wasn’t there before. Always remember to pause for the small wins that make up the big ones. Let yourself be warmed by the step you’ve taken as your hands are warmed by the teacup.


Resume your work with fresh eyes. See it in a new light. Refine it. Edit, rearrange, add, delete, repeat.


See a notification light up your phone with an article that compels you. Read it. Make note of the structure, style, turns of phrase that move you. When you come to the end, pause to consider it. Really, consider it. Retain the work that spoke to you, reached you like you want to reach others. Remember why you do it — bare your soul and give of yourself to people you may never know.


Pet your cat or dog.


Hug your partner, child, or roommate.


Text a friend.


Get lost in your own eyes in the mirror when you take a break for the restroom.


Come back to your piece and appreciate it. Put your final touches on it. Fine-tune the paragraph you struggled with and scrap the one you weren’t sure you needed in the first place. Treasure the fact that it says exactly what you need it to. Congratulate yourself before you hit publish, press send, or save your work for a future date.


Respect the art of taking it slow. You’re a creator, an artist, a writer — enjoy the process.


 

Thanks for reading.

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