Just over a year ago I decided to invest in my writing and signed up for a course: “The Year of Creativity”, run by the ladies behind one of my favourite blogs, Coffee + Crumbs. I did well for the first few months, going through the lessons, keeping up with the writing prompts - it was fantastic!
Then they started discussing slow writing. I remember one of the writers sharing about a course she taught where students were asked to write a piece of a certain length - maybe a couple of pages - and then cut the entire piece down to ONE sentence they felt captured the entire essence of the piece - and start over again, from there.
Another activity was to work on one piece - only one! - every day for a month.
A whole month!
I mean - who has TIME for that? I have kids … At that point, I had approximately 90 minutes of uninterrupted writing time twice a week while they were both at school . 90 minutes isn’t a lot, especially when you consider how much I “had” to get done around the house before I could actually get my bum in the chair to write. And how many times I got out of that chair …
Forget writer’s block, distraction is the hardest part of writing!
My MO when it comes to writing: Write as much as you can, as fast as you can. You can always edit later! Slow writing is for people who have the time!
But then …
I realized that I have been writing slowly, in my own way. I write fast and furious - a handful of sentences here, a description of a setting there - and then I piece things together weeks, months, and sometimes even years later.
This week one of my essays was published on Coffee + Crumbs - and do you know when the first part was written?
That’s the first time I watched Nathan tune a piano, and the first time the idea of comparing the changes in marriage to the changes in an instrument - both requiring constant tuning - dropped into my mind.
I didn’t piece everything together until last fall, when I was submitting to Coffee + Crumbs …
Ten years later.
That, my friends, is slow writing!
I know a lot of us love to write, but we “don’t have the time”. We’re busy.
To that I say - take the time you do have.
Keep a notebook in your purse.
Tap out notes on your cell phone.
Write when you have an idea.
Five minutes in the school pickup line, ten minutes while you wait at the doctor’s office.
Keep your notes.
Some day, eventually, you’ll have time - the clouds will part, you’ll piece those thoughts together - and you’ll end up with something you love, that you’re proud of -
Even if it took ten years to make it happen.