I’ve been working hard the past six weeks, pushing out blog posts and essays for several platforms, crunching in creative writing in the gaps, thinking about strategies and doing market research, making decisions about creative projects…

And this on top of dealing with the dumpster fire that this month has already been.

Now I find myself in recovery mode, and I’ve got to say I think I’m handling it better than I ever have before.

I haven’t guilt-tripped myself once with a “you should be working harder” and I’ve let my id guide me through these days, buckling up and only doing the absolutely necessary tasks that are on a deadline and can’t wait for later.

Yesterday, I spent the whole day pugging with my shammy. I pugged those same 4-5 dungeons until I was sick of it. But it was a good sick.

I was blasting Foo Fighters’ Let It Die the whole day, too.

And that song got me thinking about fast and slow. No, not the book, though that’s a good book.

But about pacing and rhythm in creative work.

Now, for me the first and foremost creative expression is in writing, so I’m using this as an example, but as Let It Die shows, it applies to everything.

Let It Die starts of nice and easy, picking up at around the 1:40 mark, the headbanger drop coming at around the 2:40 mark, and in between gliding effortlessly between these two modes.

A morning when you hit snooze past the point of no return…

You resurface into the waking world. Your vision is blurry. The bed is so comfortable. You sigh. And then you jolt. You’re late. Fuck! You look at the time. You’re really fucking late! You shoot out of bed like a rocket into the stratosphere. You brush your teeth as you start pulling on shirt and jeans and socks. You run out of the door like a bat straight out of hell. You pull out of the parking lot. Your car starts chiming that you forgot to fasten your seatbelt, so you do it one-handed as you drive. You will red lights to turn green and green ones to stay green just long enough for you to zoom through. You swear at the car snailing in front of you. When you finally get past, you corner like an F1 driver and pray there’s a parking space open so you don’t end up parking miles away from the office.

…is very different from a morning when you take your sweet time.

You savour your coffee as it goes down and you’re grateful as you feel the bean juice starting to stir the energy within you. You blink and the world begins to fill with colour. The trees are lush, the grass is green, and life is beautiful. You walk to your car and are so happy that you don’t feel like punching anyone in the face. Once ensconced in the driver’s seat, you pull up your favourite playlist and start cruising down the road. The landscape drifts by to the music like movie and you notice things you usually wouldn’t. There’s a woman walking her dog that has one of those waist-leash-things and she’s letting the dog pull her along, as she’s doing something on her phone. There’s a pair of old friends fishing on the bridge, standing there and chatting amicably. There’s even a car behind you with someone who’s obviously late, because they’ve been tailgating you for the last three intersections, looking for a gap to overtake you. But it doesn’t annoy you, you’ve got plenty of time before you have to be at work, you’ve got your coffee, music that takes your breath away and your hair has never looked so good.

You can experience things at two speeds: fast and slow.

You’ll notice that the first chunk of text has a faster cadence and rhythm to it than the second. 

The sentences are shorter, swifter and harder-hitting. There is minimal meandering.

The experience is less of a leisurely stroll and more of a heart-pounding sprint.

And rather than choosing fast or slow, choose both. But know when to employ which, that gives whatever you’re creating a really nice rhythm.

Stagger your sentences like bricks and stones of all shapes and sizes to make structures that your readers can’t take their eyes off of.

Weave your instruments like streams and rivers leading down to the ocean, taking your listeners on a journey they can’t wait to take again.

Fast and slow. Not fast or slow. Do both.

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