Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slow Down...


During my interview with Stephanie Perkins, she mentioned a book that really helped her write her second book called Chapter after Chapter, by Heather Sellers.

I am loving it and thought I'd share some of it's wisdom.

RULE NUMBER ONE: SLOW DOWN.

Heather poses the question, "When you are afraid, what do you do? Run?"

She says if you are nervous about the amount of time and sacrifice a book project takes, your first impulse is to rush.

She says it actually takes loads of courage to slow down.

"In sex, in parenting, in listening to a friend, in caring for an aged person, in gardening, on the freeway - slowing down is really, really good. We live in a world where it's become a talent, a lost art, something we have to relearn: slow down.

Book authors regularly use speed like a drug. Because we are terrified - of failing, of wrecking up the first draft, of telling the truth, of sucking, of pretty much everything that has anything to do with writing a book - we rush."

She goes on to talk about fear and flight which was interesting but then she talked about how she came to this realization. And, like all good things, it was food...

"Then,"she says, "I read about Slow Food. Food I understand. Food and body = I am there.
So there is this movement, started in Italy (where else), devoted to all things that take an enormous amount of time. A reaction to McDonald's, Burger King, hyper-this and super-speedy-that, the Slow Food Movement embraces artisanal bread, old vine wines, meals that take hours to consume because each bite is savored, and the conversation is the most valuable dish served.

The Slow Food people like bicycles, beaches, books, and face-to-face meetings. They do not believe in gyms, cell phones, or cities in particular. The Slow Foodies like walking, talking, cooking... You get the idea.

Writing, just like the Slow Food movement, is counter cultural to our speedy way of life.
Writing is slow. Always has been.
Writing books is, and should be, really slow.

Slow is good. Slow is great.
Slow is the new fast.

Time soaked writing is good writing. Your books should be steeped."

This is one of the best books I have ever read on writing and I might share more later. But do you do this? Do you rush? Do you panic and think you'll never get there? Do you freak out when other people sell their books fast? Take heart, Dear Bloggers. Be cool. Take a load off and slow down. Your books will thank you.

20 comments:

storyqueen said...

My favorite line?

Slow is the new fast.

Yeah!

Going to have to find this book...


Shelley

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Read this a few years ago. One thing I appreciated was Heather's advice to stick to one writing book per manuscript. I tend to panic and think I need to read a big spread of books before jumping into a new piece of writing. The motivation (for me) became fear instead of learning craft.

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I want my books to be steeped in fabulousity. Seriously. Do you think they sell that at Whole Foods or something?

Great post, ladies. I love that fast is so last season.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'll have to get this one. I'm guilty of the speed trap. I queried way too soon the first time around - stupid, stupid, stupid. I've learned a lot since then. :-)

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, Katie! I am so, so, so happy you're enjoying Heather's book. YES. SLOW. I wish I'd known it a few months ago. I was setting ridiculously fast, unreasonable goals — and not meeting a single one. And then feeling bad about it. And then setting NEW goals. It was awful. Slowing down was the best thing I did for progress!


Also HUGE YAY for the Slow Food movement. I read a lot about it while researching Anna, because the French have a similar life philosophy. It just makes sense, you know?

Linda Benson said...

Thanks for a fabulous post. I will look for this book. Yes, especially when I'm working toward the end of a manuscript, I get in a rush to finish, because I want to be done, finished, finito. I am working on that, on not rushing my endings, on savoring things. Thanks for the reminder.

Tere Kirkland said...

The slow food movement is really big down here in LA. No, the other LA, Louisiana. I love slow food, maybe it's time to slow down with my writing.

Great post, and very timely!

Christine Fonseca said...

So true!..Love this post. So funny that I wrote about fear today too....

Christina Lee said...

WOWEE- I love it just from your excerpt!I actually slowed down momentarily writing this comment,and checked better for errors. So my comment is steeped ;)

Elana Johnson said...

"Slow is the new fast."

I so need to do this. That sounds like a great craft book. I'm going to buy it. I feel this immense amount of pressure to "hurry up and write another book."

But it takes me a long time to write a book. Not only the first draft, but the months of editing. Gah. Just thinking about it has my heart racing.

Slow down, E. Slow....

Kelly H-Y said...

What a fabulous post ... and such perfect timing for me to read right now! Thank you!

Elizabeth said...

"In sex, in parenting, in listening to a friend, in caring for an aged person, in gardening, on the freeway - slowing down is really, really good. We live in a world where it's become a talent, a lost art, something we have to relearn: slow down.


Book authors regularly use speed like a drug. Because we are terrified - of failing, of wrecking up the first draft, of telling the truth, of sucking, of pretty much everything that has anything to do with writing a book - we rush." LOVE THIS!!!!

Corey Schwartz said...

Wow! So counter to the idea of NaNo! But her point definitely makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

Loretta Nyhan said...

I love this post! Awesome advice. I think I should print it out and post it above my monitor. Slow is good!

beth said...

Oooh. Wow. Like that. I'm going to need to check that book out!

Robin said...

Awesome. Slow is the new fast.

Bingo!

Now I GOTTA check out this book...
:-)

Little Ms J said...

I like this. Too bad I'm giving myself an ulcer wanting to get a first draft of the barista whipped up/into shape before Backspace in May.

Scuse me while I go throw up.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Katie--Good post...Makes one slow down and think about how one writes...

Katie said...

Whew! I need to share more advice from this fab book!

I'm so glad y'all like it. But seriously, I am on a quest to make slow the new fast :)

Let's make t-shirts, shall we?

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Love these quotes! Gotta read this book.

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