On Slowing Down

It occurs to me lately that, when writing, I write full-throttle, plowing ahead without looking back, trying just to go fast enough that something really dynamic and surprising will appear on the page. But, that doesn’t work. Right? That makes what comes out too thought-less, too, maybe, lacking in substance. By thought-less, I mean that it lacks the necessary slowing-down, the chewing that should go into each sentence and word. 

There’s something to slowing it down, to really forcing yourself to mull over each word. Some folks write by hand so that they’re forced to do this. I’ve always resisted the handwriting method for probably illogical reasons/impulses. I want to get words down on paper, lots of them, and I write, write, write, trying to get stuff out. I put out a good quantity of stuff – and, it seems to be getting traction with the literary mag/publishing crowd – but I also wonder what really slowing down would do, where my work could go if I forced myself to dream about each sentence before I put it down. 

There’s the impulse that if I write faster, I’ll write more, and more of that will be publishable, and that will free up more time to work on new stuff. There’s a slippery slope there, though, because of course that’s not really true. If I write more at a faster pace without the contemplation that comes with slowing down, more of it’s going to need to be looked at more closely on a second, third, fourth, fifth, go-around. Some of it may be actually pretty good, but couldn’t it be better

Or, is the drafting stage just the time to speed it up and get everything down and not worry about so many things? Is that all supposed to come in the revision stages? The fine-tuning, the real slowing down


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