Friday, August 16, 2019

Speed Kills

Speed kills. I was told by a Marine Corps jet fighter pilot that that phrase was not always true, that speed is your friend when flying a jet. I will bow to his expertise and acknowledge there may be an exception, but i still feel my statement generally holds true.

As it relates to writing, I certainly believe it's true. I know. You've read posts from me that say you need to write more books and churn them out faster. I was wrong. I stand by the first part of that statement: more writing, more publishing, will lead to more sales. Write more, not just books either. Submit short stories and essays too. The more people read your work, the better chance they will buy more. Of course, the big caveat is they will buy more only if it's good, only if it's worth paying for. And that's where slowing down will help. I saw this post about handwriting the first draft.

“A laptop may be able to perfectly typeset my thoughts as I write them, but a first draft has no business being easy to read. A first draft shouldn’t herald itself in a cacophony of clattering keys. A first draft should arrive with the raindrop-quiet of the popping sound my ballpoint makes skittering through the cursive-and-printing hybrid of my handwriting. A first draft needs the whisper of the thoughts I haven’t made sense of yet to be echoed by the whisper of my hand gliding across the page as I finish with one word and move onto the next.”

I used to hand write the first draft all the time and I stopped for a long while. Now I'm back to it. I'm sure you've noticed the improved quality! 😀 The process feels right to me, for me. It turns out I can type much faster than I can think (same with talking, but that's another post), and that usually ends poorly. It think it's one of the reasons social media and the 24/7 cable news networks are so low quality. Too many are in too big a hurry to be first and so we read speculation more than actual facts far too often.

Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep publishing. Don't stop, but don't go too fast either. Pay attention to craft. Haste makes waste - that phrase has been around a long time for good reason.

“Instead of strapping into the digital fast lane where my touch-typed thoughts can be zapped—fast, fast, fast—onto a screen, pen and paper slow my mind long enough for my heart to get a word in edgewise; pen and paper slow my mind long enough for my heart to encourage me to wait for truths that filter up as slowly as water from an aquifer…”

Read the entire article.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've just returned from a three week retreat followed by vacation unplugged from the internet and news. Your blog post about slowing down was right in sync with the gifts I received slowing down, doing "nothing", staring into space, communing with th hummingbirds and swimming in the north woods lake water coolness. It clears my head and helps me thank more clearly and calmly. Thanks for your suggestions about the craft of writing. I enjoy reading your thoughts.