One thing that it seems I’m always trying to do is s l o w  d o w n. It’s one of the reasons I write, so I can capture life and linger in the moments that are rushing past.

Recently I realized I even eat fast. Gobble. Gobble. Done.

This, I told myself, this I can control. I can chose to slow down meal times. I don’t have to shovel bite after bite after bite into my mouth, finishing the task of eating quickly and efficiently. I can chew and taste.

It’s something I’ve been working on for about a month. I still catch myself eating quickly. I still tell myself to slow down. I still make myself pause and breathe and stop rushing at the start of a meal. Like so many other moments of the day, there is a routine to meals. I’m learning to not get swept up by the routine. I focus on the food, on the people around me, on the time to relax. I’m learning to taste.

Through eating, I’m reminded how hard it is to not rush on to the next thing. It’s a lesson I’m living out in my writing life too. I’ve learned I can’t rush my writing. There is no substitute for time. Recently I read three YA books, and at the end of each book I felt the writer rushed the process. The characters didn’t live up to themselves; the plot was a little mangled; in general, they didn’t read true.

If I’m going to the effort to write, then I want it to feel true. I want it to be genuine and real. I want the writing to linger. As I’m remembering how to taste my food, I’m also learning how to taste the words I put on the page. I will patiently wait for everything to come together in order to savor life.

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  1. I think this is what I didn't like about the process of NaNoWriMo… it was just too fast and the writing seemed fake. Even though I knew the point of the month was to write a lot and write fast, I just couldn't do it.

    And, as far as eating fast, I think that's a product of being a teacher and only having so many minutes to eat. It's hard to change that when you get home!

  2. “As I'm remembering how to taste my food, I'm also learning how to taste the words I put on the page. I will patiently wait for everything to come together in order to savor life.”
    I love this idea…you are so right about using the word “savor” to get at the food+words connection. I, too, rush through eating – who has the time to savor? I read your post just after I'd eaten a bowl of soup in 4 minutes flat – no savoring there! So, my next meal will be with your post in mind!

  3. As Deb says, eating fast is a by-product of being a teacher with a limited lunch period and things to do during that time because you were dealing with parents or something else during your prep time. Thanks for reminding me to slow down, whether I am eating, writing, or whatever. Take time and enjoy the experience.

  4. That is exactly how I felt about the book You Have Seven Messages! You make me realize that I have been rushing through some of my writing lately as well. There is just a different, more authentic feel when I slow down, just like you say. It is worth it to slow down and enjoy the flavor, or SALT, if you will. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Boy, this is a post I could write as well. I wolf down my food in a rush to get on to what is next. I think I try and cram so much into my days I never slow down. Thanks for the excellent reminder!

  6. Hmmm…slow down….good advice! Over break, our whole family slowed down (though our slug-like pace is probably not what you really mean) and it felt good. So good that the pace of back to school yesterday hit us hard! 🙂
    Thanks for the reminder that slowing down is really better than the quick pace we so often trap ourselves in.

  7. “I'm learning to taste the words I put on the page.” I love how you opened with a story and then related it to writing. Kids would get this. So true.

  8. I will repeat, sorry, but that tasting the words on the page is wonderful, to savor & expressly feel how they are laid there is worth all the slowing down. Good luck on the eating, too. My father used to want us to chew each bite like 25 times or something like that. Oh my, we didn't like it. But maybe he had a point, he wanted us to slow down & enjoy each other?! Thanks for the terrific connections, Ruth.

  9. Writing to linger–yes. You've described it well, Ruth. Believe it or not, I still rush to eat!!! My T'ai Chi, I think, will help with slowing down!!!