by Marcia Yudkin
Originating in Europe, the “Slow Food” movement called for buying local produce, celebrating natural ingredients and delighting in the power of food to bond a family or community. It counters fast food, where no one cares how nutritious the ingredients are, and where taste matters less than getting served right away and being able to chow down as quickly as possible so as to go back to work or on with shopping.
After Slow Food took hold, parallel movements developed, including Slow Travel, which favors immersing yourself in a place and minimizing your impact as a tourist; Slow Parenting, which advocates letting children play and explore in an unorganized fashion; and Slow Money, which supports local businesses with long-term investments and patronage.
Let’s apply this philosophy to the world of books, where with the expansion of digital publishing, a subculture has sprung up hawking fast writing and quantity of output as a road to riches, rather than quality publishing as a worthy goal in itself. The culture of blogging likewise values frequency over quality, and off-the-cuff style over polish. Slow Authorship, on the other hand, recommends thinking of writing as a stew in which ideas, characters, themes and artful language may need to simmer to develop the richest, in-depth flavor.
Instead of dashing off a manuscript and rushing it to publication, Slow Authorship allows the time for clarity to emerge and significance to layer in. In a succession of drafts, you make the work more and more useful, more and more meaningful to readers, more worthy of savoring and rereading. The mark of success isn’t “Not bad. Next!” but “I truly learned something here” or “I had such a worthwhile experience.”
Slow Authorship also suggests that you find your own style and message rather than following recipes or formulas. Discovering your distinctive voice takes time, patience, a focus on craft and self-observation. Once that happens, ideal readers cherish your uniqueness, whether it’s your wry sense of humor or your powerful perspective on guilt and forgiveness.
With Slow Authorship, your reward is loyal fans, who buy book after book, blog about what they experienced with you and recommend your work to friends and relatives. You don’t go in one lobe of the brain and out the other, your name floating back into the unknown. Fervent fans of your work want more, yet if you need time to prepare the next dish, they’ll wait. It’s worth it, they feel. They appreciate the difference between your work and half-baked (not to mention unbaked!) books by others.
Perhaps you’re drawn to promises like “Start and Finish Your Book in a Weekend” and “Killer Kindle Bestsellers in Three Steps.” Maybe you’re mesmerized by tales of briskly selling, prolific new authors who don’t care what any critics say as long as their core readers continue to buy. Before you go down that path, stop and think whether you’re hoping to create something that represents you well, has an impact on readers and is still bought and respected 10 years from now. If so, then Slow Authorship deserves your attention.
Allow your thoughts to ferment, your talent to ripen and your text to bake and bubble. With Slow Authorship you have the universe’s best chance of fulfilling your deepest ambitions.
About the Author: Creative marketing coach Marcia Yudkin has had book contracts with HarperCollins, Penguin USA, Henry Holt and other publishers, and her very fastest full-length book took four whole months to finish. Subscribe to her wise weekly newsletter, The Marketing Minute, at www.yudkin.com/markmin.htm and download her free Marketing for Introverts Manifesto at www.yudkin.com/introverts.htm.