I have always pushed myself to go faster. That came from an incredibly lethargic father and a drunk mother. The more they slowed down, the more they pushed their three sons to go faster. One went faster until he broke down completely, consoled himself with fistfuls of painkillers and scotch, finally taking his life.
My other brother slowed down, acting like our father.
I acted out the script and moved faster, stopping drinking when it started to destroy my life.
So I force myself to write poetry quickly and my novel, too. Speeches, letters to the editor and business articles too are written at full speed. The advantage is that I write faster than the critic can go, often producing highly creative work.
I had an epiphany when I started to read a book on time. I realized that to get through my writer’s block, I had to slow down and write the second draft slowly. A friend in NYC used to say, “no one is keeping score.”
I can forget that, but it is true, no one is keeping score.
By writing slowly, I treat myself more gently, and I am much more likely to enjoy the process rather than pushing and attacking myself and using fear and self-hatred to motivate myself. All that will push me into a block. Or into using alcohol of some other way of taking the edge off.
I’ll let you know how it goes.