The Art of Slow(er) Writing

Weekday breakfasts at our house — if I want them to be more than straight-from-the-fridge affairs — must really be cooked or baked the night before. Our routines and lessons begin from the moment of waking straight on till lunchtime, and the morning minutes seem too precious to spend scrubbing frizzled eggs out of a pan.

But this week, a deliberately slow pulse of activity seemed like a good idea. On Tuesday I toasted slices of salty sheep’s milk cheese and served it with cooked mushrooms and fresh pears and bread and butter — somewhat hobbitish, in review! — and yesterday the family woke to the warm cinnamon scent of morning glory baked oatmeal.

I wasn’t fully aware of how much I needed a slackened pace, but at the end of last week I could sense a fraying of thought and relationship under our roof, and it’s been quieting in the best way to read more storybooks than usual, to let the girls race in the grass before dinner, and to surprise them with hugs as they play.

I live in a world that seems to be rediscovering the value of slowing down — slow food, slow church, slow fashion — and reaffirming that most good and worthwhile things take time and intentionality to develop.

Mix bread dough. Bottle wine. Work the earth. And let it rest. 

As I sat cross-legged by a luminous basement window yesterday afternoon, I scribbled ideas for the future with the merit of “slow writing” in mind. I’d planned to participate in the Write 31 Days project again this year, but I’ve been noticing lately that I say less of worth when my words are numerous and frequent, especially in recent discussions with friends and artists. (Write 31 Days itself is an excellent challenge, and I deeply value the writers I’ve met through it. I’d love to hear from you if you decide to take part!) I’m still aiming to write with regularity, but I also feel an urge to see how revision mellows and matures raw words on a scale I haven’t practiced since graduate school — to “give time to let the flavors meld,” as the cookbooks say. The timing is wonderful, in a way, since I’m finally buckling down to work on the someday-dream of a book.

What does this mean for the blog? If you’ve followed Sun Steeped Days for any length of time, you might laugh when I tell you I’ve always intended to post twice a week — one post of family/home notes, and one with a short story or essay or reflection — because you’ll know how rarely I meet that goal. I still plan to publish both kinds of posts going forward, but with less chagrin over producing a piece on time, and a greater contentment about meting out the right dose of attention to each written form.

On that note, thank you for opening these emails or visiting this page. Pulling back the curtain on writerly aspirations makes me feel like hiding my face behind the nearest piece of furniture (I’ve just realized where Little Jo gets this tendency), but I’ll never cease to be amazed that the Lord allows me the joy of cobbling words together as an offering. And to hear sometimes that you were encouraged to continue on with Him or that you glimpsed something of His beauty through something you found here — well, no amount of editing will help me find the words for that. (May it always be so.)

Wishing you a slow weekend in all the ways that count most,




  1. I also considered doing the 31 days again, but i’ve mostly been writing in journals and notebooks and I don’t feel ready to post every day.

    I would love to be a mom who is just quietly, slowly, joyfully present in these days instead of too often escaping to a book, an email or an article on my smartphone. To learn how to revel in these sometimes fast and sometimes slow days!

    1. I know what you mean! Of all the things I could ask for these days, joy and peace in the daily work and challenges are my two simplest and greatest requests.

  2. I’ll miss you at write 31 this year. Funny thing, I’ve been focusing on editing pieces and slower writing and I feel like I have gotten overly critical and the flow hasn’t been as easy lately. I’ve felt very blocked. So I chose to do write 31 but using free write prompts and no editing. It definitely goes in seasons!!

    1. So kind of you to remember me, Nicole! I agree wholeheartedly about seasons. When I wrote this post I felt like it was time to begin more “hidden,” longer-term work, partly so that I wouldn’t put such pressure on myself to say everything I wanted to say on each topic in a given post. Funnily enough, I think it might free me to continue scribbling shorter pieces and trying out new ideas with less scrutiny and more delight in writing… theoretically. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

      Yours is the only 31 days series I’ve bookmarked so far… I’m glad you’re getting some time for free writing, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you explore those five minutes a day!