writing workshop

Living Like a Writer: Slow Down.

So much of writing is living.  The actual putting of words to paper is only a small fraction of what it means to be a writer.  For us in the Midwest, school is in full swing and life is busy.  Teachers feel pressure, students feel pressure, administrators feel pressure, parents feel pressure . . . and everyone is on the go. 

Here lies the problem.  As writers we must live, yet often we get too busy with living to even think of writing.  It is times like these that I want to scream “SLOW DOWN!” 

I have found that when I’m too busy to write, then I’m not really living.  I’m simply going through the motions, letting life happen to me.  Donald Murray once said, “Writing allows me to live life twice.”  It is this living of life and then writing that allows the richness of life to infuse in our souls.

This weekend, I challenge you to slow down and focus on the richness of your life.  No matter what is happening, find the good in your life — squint if you have to. Appreciate the small favors life offers — a warm breeze, a few extra moments of sleep, a supportive friend, a good book.  Tomorrow, I’ll be reminding myself how thankful I am for the piles of laundry because they signify a healthy family who can afford clothes.

Then take a moment to live life twice by writing down a list of gratitudes.  You won’t be sorry for slowing down.  In fact, you may be surprised to find that you are more productive than ever.

7 thoughts on “Living Like a Writer: Slow Down.

  1. I think the most useful and powerful skill a writer can have is observation. To be somewhere and look around and really see what’s going on. To find something new in a place we’re in every day.

    So often we rush, rush, rush that so much is missed. To be observant, to do that slow down and take in the world around, is an amazing thing. It’s amazing what new perspective the familiar can have when you look and listen….


  2. Yes, Ruth, you are so right! It is essential to convey that to the students and yet it is so hard when it feels we are so pressed for time. I had the opportunity to go see my parents this weekend just for Sat. but it was a wonderful day. My dad was about the most alert that i have seen him and i enjoyed talking with him and my mom about the memories we hav had together and about the memories they share nad last but not least…about memories form each of their own pasts. It was percious time shared! I’m glad I slowed down enough to enjoy time with them!


  3. I love the Donald Murray quote, Ruth. Thanks so much for sharing it.
    This morning, I’m thankful for glimpses of sunlight after all the rain and grayness this week. And it may sound strange, but I’m also thankful the class I was supposed to teach today was canceled due to low enrollment. While I could use the money, I need the writing time even more.


  4. We just got home from synagogue — our new synagogue here in PA. I am thankful that our rabbi read the names of the soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan this week when it came time for us to do the Kaddish. I’m thankful that I belong to a synagogue who remembers the many young men and women who are sacrificing their lives for our freedom in a war that is so, so far away.


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