The Slow Writing Movement…
Prior to new Year’s Eve, Joe Konrath said: This year, I’m boiling my resolutions down to the essence:
Elizabeth Hunter wrote: I NEED the writing. It’s still my most-fun-thing. My escape. My happy place.
I love writing and want to write more books, but they can’t happen as fast as I would like and that’s okay. In fact, that’s better than okay. It’s normal and I’m perfectly fine with that.
And then there’s Kristine Kathryn Rusch, a commentator whose words always hold a distinct resonance and clarity for me personally. In her annual ‘Close of Business for the Year’ address she pointed out a couple of salient things…
‘The new world isn’t actively hostile, but it is difficult. And why shouldn’t it be? We’re working on an international level.
But one of the degrees of difficulty we’ve been dealing with since 2009 is that the new system hadn’t stabilized yet. Things changed, sometimes weekly, and those of us who jumped into indie publishing from the beginning were constantly revising expectations as well as ways of doing things.’
I joined the new world of publishing along with some of my closest writing friends, in 2008. We were published POD by an organization in the UK that was government funded with an annual Arts grant. We sold, we did well. But then we stepped out on our own and by 2010, dived into e-books.
Not just diving in I might add, but swimming whole marathons because the industry was mega-populated and the technology seemed to change by the hour…
But they were things we had to learn to cope with as easily as a swimmer manages a tumble-turn before continuing the next lap!
‘2016 will be the Year of the Writer,’ Kristine continued. ‘Not because writers will suddenly become the darlings of the culture. (Wouldn’t that be weird?) But because the writers who have survived all the changes and have worked hard to publish in whatever way is best for them are now returning their attention to the very thing that got them started in the first place:
And that for me is the nub.
I have told stories all of my life – initially for my own pleasure, but since 2008, for the pleasure of others. Stories build in my mind and like an artist must paint, so I must get my story down. I am happy and content when I write.
Kristine went further to quote other writers who were backing off from the ‘publish many novels in one year or die’ programme and who were planning on taking time to live and allow creativity to move through all its phases.
Sometimes, as many writers know, staring out the window, walking the dog or pulling weeds from the garden is like fertilizer to that same garden. It is the constructive ‘rest’ that the creative mind needs. It doesn’t stop being creative – it merely sifts through the best of the creative thoughts in a very subtle way.
I’ve never written more than one novel a year. Except for the odd short-story in collaboration for an anthology or for Bopress Miniatures with whom I am contracted to write miniature stories periodically. But as my peers publish more than one novel a year, I have felt a certain amount of dismay and guilt at my own slow rate of working. So much so that it made me question my ability and dedication.
But Kristine, Joe and Elisabeth and a host of popular authors and commentators appear to have now sanctioned the programme. The one I shall call ‘the Slow Writing Movement’, rather like ‘the slow food movement.’
I want to savour the flavour and not burn out in the process. If readers have found my work, I have to believe and hope they will come back for second and third (and up to eight) helpings. No amount of flinging dishes at them at a furious rate is going to make me a better writer or give me a better income or even force those readers to choose me above all the other excellent and faster writers.
It is what it is.
And I take joy and contentment from moving along at a pace guaranteed to allow me to enjoy all that surrounds me and with which I can infuse my novels.
Just think of it as a perfect slow-cooked casserole, filled with fresh herbs which heighten the flavour on the palate to impossible levels of enjoyment.
That’s me, Prue Batten – Slow Writer!