I’ve been reading the book, The Art of Slow Writing, written by Louise DeSalvo. I started the book for a few reasons. One, I really enjoyed her book, Writing as a Way of Healing. And, two, I feel I’ve come to a standstill in my own writing. Not really a writers block, per se, just unsure how to move forward. The idea, she explains, is to move through the process, not rush things. In our fast-paced, productive society, it is hard to turn the switch to slow, but with our writing it is necessary.
It’s really easy to let myself get wrapped up in the work and put an end date on a project. That makes me feel productive and satisfied when a deadline is met. It’s good to see that not all authors work like this and that many of the greats worked slow and deliberate. Gives me hope! I particularly liked learning that Hemingway wrote nearly 47 different endings to A Farewell to Arms, before choosing his favorite.
When I came across this quote from Aldous Huxley, in his essay, On Art and Artists, my mind was alleviated once again from the undue stress of rushing the process.
If young artists really desire to offer proof of their courage they should attack the monster of obviousness and try to conquer it, try to reduce it to a state of artistic domestication, not timorously run away from it. For the great obvious truths are there — facts… By pretending that certain things are not there, which in fact are there, much of the most accomplished modern art is condemning itself to incompleteness, to sterility, to premature decrepitude and death.
As Huxley points out that modern art can condemn itself to incompleteness, I fear that is what will happen to my research and project if I stop thinking, editing and learning and just continue with the information and insight I have right now. Well, I decided that’s not a risk I’m willing to take! The project, the idea and the research will just have to linger a little while longer, in order to stay alive.
Until next time –