Mini-review – The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo, 2014
When I was at the very start of my writing apprenticeship, I bought heaps and heaps of books about writing. I’d use them as writing workshops and work through the exercises diligently. I still sometimes do this – it’s a great help when I’m stuck with a piece of current writing or want to change forms. I love that feeling of being a student again, taking advice and direction from an experienced mentor who might inspire me to write something I wouldn’t have dreamt of without that triggering exercise. The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo is definitely aimed at the apprentice writer. The book was fashioned from blog posts and that shows in the book’s structure – it’s divided into quite small sections, many of which follow the same pattern – advice, quotations from a diversity of writers to back up her reflections on writing and examples of her own writing process employed on her (then) current book about her father and World War II.
The advice, repeated in different forms throughout the book, can be distilled as: if you want to write, make it a priority in your life and allow lots of time for it. However, along the way are other useful tips, including the keeping of a process journal, and the examples she uses are inspiring, although I found the constant quoting of other writer’s examples became structurally predictable. I did, however, read the book in one sitting – and that is not the best way to read this book. If you are interested in The Art of Slow Writing, read it as you would a blog post, perhaps even before you embark on your morning or evening writing? The always optimistic but slightly admonishing tone reminds me of a personal trainer – best experienced in small doses.
(I did find it inspiring to know just how many writers also use typewriters!)
You can read something by Louse DeSalvo here.