Going at your own speed…

So, I had a pretty lazy weekend and spent most of it catching up on reading and watching TV.  That’s not the norm for me, but I felt my energy levels needed a recharge.

Something I did notice while watching lifestyle shows, was that they all seem to be time-sensitive. I saw programmes on how to renovate a house in a weekend, plant a garden from scratch in a day, and cook up a feast for twelve in under two hours (okay, I might be exaggerating, but you get the gist). Participants are put under enormous pressure to stick to the time limit.

It seems that everywhere we look there’s a pressure to do things fast. Even the writers among us aren’t immune. There’s write a book in a weekend, plan a seven-part series in one evening, or release a book every month (or a week in some cases) if you want to be really successful.  Okay, most of us see this for what it is and do our own thing (thank goodness), but the inherrent pressure (which is often subconscious) can sometimes be debilitating.

We all bloom at different speedsThis pressure to do everything fast can lead to a kind of comparison-itis. That feeling that if we’re not doing things as fast as our peers we’re slacking off. If we can’t renovate our garden in record time, or write 12,000 words a day, we’re somehow less-than those who are doing these things.

I’m a plodder, always have been. It takes me a while to plan, to think around things – whether it’s what colours to use in that new garden bed I’m planning, or the names of the characters in the new book I’m outlining. For me, that thinking process and having the time to sift around ideas and possibilities is a huge part of the fun. As a writer I like to spend days getting to know the characters, researching the setting, and any one of the other myriad things that go into developing a story. My characters become real to me, and I think a big part of that is spending so much time with them. I’m not sure I’d get the same satisfaction if I was banging out books at record speed.

I realise not everyone is like me and some people can write really fast and publish very regularly. I’m certainly not saying that quality is affected by speed either, and I could name several writers I love who write super fast and their books are great. Part of me envies them, but at the same time I’m not about to beat myself up for doing it differently.

What about you? Do you like doing projects fast? Or do you prefer taking your time?

6 responses to “Going at your own speed…

  1. Some things I like to do fast like clean the bathrooms 🙂 But anything creative I like to keep for awhile and like you I love the slower writing pace though lately if I went any slower I’d be going backward.

  2. As someone who’s written about the 30 years it took to crochet a baby blanket, I’d say I like to think about things. Lol. One of the things I struggle with, though, is that I tend to be thinking about the next step instead of the one I’m on. It’s something I’m working on in this more isolated world we’re in. Taking time to focus on what’s in front of me at the moment. 🙂

  3. Staying in the moment is a big struggle, isn’t it, Laurie? Still working on it, too.

  4. Oh definitely need to time to think about things, mull them over and decide which or what is best. That’s if I’m working on writing or painting. And certainly need garden thinking time, for plants and plans. But even shopping or housework now runs at a slow, steady pace. After all, there’s no rush any more. There’s time to smell the flowers and the coffee now, and loving every moment. 🙂

  5. I agree there is way too much pressure to do things fast. I’d like to slow life down a bit. I spend most of my Saturdays doing just that. AND then I feel somewhat guilty for not doing more with my weekend. It’s a vicious cycle.

    I sometimes write fast and sometimes slow as a snail. It really depends on what I am working with. But lately, it’s been super slow. Jillian

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