Day 26: Moving Slowly
Savor the experience you’re having.
So many of us dream of the artist lifestyle. The laid back attitude, enjoying life, enjoying every little moment that creating our work brings to us. Lazy afternoons and quiet mornings. Opportunities to explore our craft and get to know it well, developing a strong relationship with our muse.
But then the real world hits and the buzzes start and we forget about all that. We start racing to keep up, because we think the bohemian life that someone else is having is better than the life we’re having, so as long as we follow and mimic their life, ours might be what we wish it to be.
We put so much effort into trying to find the secrets that others hold that we don’t discover our own.
We … No, let me be honest here – I should spend more time working slowly.
Working slow doesn’t mean working soft. It means being surgical with your time and your career. Being very deliberate with what you let in so that you can be sure of what comes back out. It’s about giving yourself enough freedom to continue having fun and explore and be silly and stupid and dumb (the last one is especially important). It means being steps ahead so you don’t stumble at the finish line, it means reading slowly and long so you read well, it means doing the research well so you can act the frantic when the work and the muse demands it – when you’re sketching ideas out, when you’re exploring ideas.
Working slow is more about working methodically. Being a good little boyscout and always being prepared. This week my wife has been very sick and neither of us have gotten much sleep. This has meant my morning essays have been close to impossible to finish (today, especially), and it’s because I haven’t worked slowly and methodically to prepare for such an event. I haven’t done what I know I should do – I haven’t worked ahead, written in advance, working to earlier than real deadlines. I’ve skimmed instead of read, I’ve Googled instead of researched, I’ve spin through my streams in Twitter rather than take part in conversations.
This isn’t professional. This isn’t what Pressfield says I should do – this isn’t sitting down and working through my process to give you what you deserve, to give the craft I love what it deserves, to give myself what I deserve, to give my time what it deserves. It’s important to remember that we must go slow by default, we must savor our very brief meals for all the richness we can so easily skim over with full-mouth swallows of time. We must build blocks and boxes of slow time so that when inside of them we can act the frantic, joyous fool.
I know I’m not alone and I’m sorry about that. This is a topic that has been brought up so, so much of late that I feel horrible for adding to the noise. But maybe, if I’m lucky, this might be a little signal that pierces through the noise and finds you. Or me. Or both of us. Hopefully both of us.
The beautiful moments in life is all we strive for, and I have never found it in in all my frantic actions and chaotic movements. I’ve only ever found them when moving slowly when I should move slowly, and fast when fast is best.