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The slow, fast way

Another hectic holiday season — I love the busyness of it, the deadlines, the collective madness — but it exacts a price.

I’ve always been in such a tearing rush.  My parents rushed into NYC from the Bronx on the day I was born — the classic speeding 100 mph on the highway, stopped by the cops, escorted in to Mt. Sinai hospital.  My dad shredded the pockets of his best suit in his worry.  So, hurry and worry from the very beginning…

Triumphant conclusion, yes.  Triumphant and meaningful — my birth meant many important things to my folks.  But still a lot of rush and drama.

And so it is to this day.  When I have a new book to deliver (pun totally intended : ) ) I go into overdrive to finish on deadline, assailed by great waves of despair and triumph.

It gets done.  And the rush of completion is awesome.  But what a waste of energy I could use for walks and other projects and playing with my kids.

And the writing itself is often breathless, under the gun.  That works well in some contexts — perfect for thrillers, that killer pace.  But in writing and in life, it can pay to slow down.

I have all the time in the world I need to do a great job.  One of my goals for this new year is to slow down and savor the writing process itself.  I love the chaos of the deadline drive, and that’s terrific. But this year I’m giving myself the gift of time, breath, and acceptance.

Part of that daily process involves taking some time to plan your day so you have sessions for getting words, time for a walk or just lying around, and time to see other humans.  I’ll let you know how it goes, this slowing down.  The funny thing is, I believe that I’ll get much more writing done nice and easy, every day, chipping away.  We’ll see if I’m right!

You can have both, the rush and the process.  Nothing wrong with slowing down, playing in your writing, just having fun in your day.  Writing doesn’t have to be all about the drama, all the time.  It can be about the moment, too.

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