Writing as Part of Slow Living Movement

stack of notebooks

(This post, while started before last week’s AI post, seems like an appropriate follow-up.)

As the standstill of the COVID lockdown becomes a distant memory, our society has become more and more hurried again. How many times have you replied to the question, “How are you doing?” with the reply “Busy!” or heard someone else do the same? What are we so bust doing? And are we happy to be doing all this “busyness”?

I catch myself doing this too. Always in a hurry, thinking I must complete this task or that. I run around with a never ending to-do list or wake in the middle of the night with yet another “Oh no, I forgot to do (fill-in-the-blank)!”

I don’t want to go back to lockdown life (though I miss the sourdough and jigsaw puzzles) but I also don’t want to race around my days like everything is urgent. I want to make time for reading, assembling those jigsaw puzzles, going for walk or writing in my journal. I want to learn to bake my own sourdough, sit and knit, lay on the ground watch the clouds pass overhead.

The rushed, stressful pace that I feel my life taking is neither healthy nor satisfying. I want to leave time for thinking. Being bored is a good thing! As fellow pen-and-paper lovers, I suspect you feel similarly. We need time to reflect and process.

Taking more time to do things is a central tenet of The Slow Living Movement. This lifestyle (or ethos, or whatever you want to call it) started gaining attention along side the minimalist movement — pre-pandemic. When we were all forced to slow down,  fewer people discussed Slow Living as anything more than our life at the time. Now that things are pacing back up, I think more and more about doing less and less.

Some of the core concepts behind Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal system is prioritizing and, in the process, removing “must-do’s” from your list if you’ve continued to migrate tasks week after week — is it still something you need or want to do? It’s about using the act of writing as a way of making contentious choices.

As an introvert and a bookish human, I think I’ve always wanted a slower life. I find that taking time to write everyday helps me feel more grounded and my brain feels less chaotic. I relish hobbies that require that I take time like knitting, reading and making art.

Where do you stand on the fast- or slow-paced life? Does writing and pens help you fit more in or help you cherry pick fewer tasks to persue?

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Absolutely yes… Letter writing in particular falls into the catagory of slow living to me. It requires thought and consideration. I find that I have similar experiences with working in the yard/gardening. It is very theraputic because I think about one thing and one thing only… the plant in front of me. On a more esoteric level I also find that shaving (with old school double edge blades and a shaving brush) provides a similar singular focus that I find quite satisfying. After I retired I was able to better appreciate the benefits of not having such long to-do lists, a packed calendar, and other obligations.

  2. Resounding yes! Especially as I’ve get older (72 this year), and time rushes away ever more quickly. Rather than packing as much into life as I can–an impulse I observe, and understand, among many of my contemporaries–I’m feeling the opposite, a need to do less, strip down my life, and put my time toward Slow pursuits. It seems counterintuitive, maybe, as my time on the planet diminishes? I don’t have answers. But I do know that writing (stressing I am NOT a Writer with capital T; I’m talking play-with-pens-and-stationery stuff), embroidery, movies, reading–these things all bring me joy and comfort. You know, things that don’t make efficient use of time.

  3. While I like this take, I’m also thinking of the ones who reply ‘busy’ when they just don’t want to give details.

    I wonder how many of us noticed a shift in some of our relationships post-pandemic – some having become a lot more ‘socially performative’ than meaningful interactions. As in ‘keeping in touch’ for the sake of it?

    Some have learned not to share and grow in their silence, especially if they do enjoy watching the clouds passing. In our speed-obsessed, productivity-at-all-costs environments, one may be reluctant to share their slowing down and enjoying the sourdough rise.

    1. I agree. I have always been private but I’m even more inclined to share less these days.

      I do think that there was a tendency (in the past) to answer the question of “how are you doing?” With “I’m well.” Or “ok”. Where today we all seem to say “I’m so busy!” I am challenging myself to respond to the “what’s up/how are you” question with something more interesting than “busy”.

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