If you are tall and have long legs, how fast do you walk?
If you are tall and have short legs, how fast do you walk?
“I walk at a normal speed,” both answer. And then you both turn, look, point, and say, “No you don’t!”
And the answer is: You’re both right; you both walk at a normal speed. If the tall person walks 8 miles per hour, and the short person walks 3 miles per hour, does it make sense for the short person to scold the tall person, saying: “You’re too fast! Slow down! Enjoy life more! Don’t be in such a rush everywhere!”?
No, of course not. Well, it happens all the time. But not between short people and tall people. It happens between people of the same height, same length legs. It happens with people who talk loud and people who talk quiet. It happens with people who eat fast and those who eat slowly. It happens with people who write constantly, and those who write in bursts. Do this, do that, go fast, go slow.
Ever be walking along, not minding anyone, not being with anyone, and a random stranger tells you to slow down? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Or it can happen in hundreds of different settings and situations, with different metaphors for it.
And they are wrong. What is normal for one person is outlandish for another. What is natural to one person doesn’t work for another. What’s strange to one person is the only way to work for another. I encounter these thousands of different ways, and am still in the midst of admiring the connections.
For example, at work, different methods allow people to work at the same rate. One person may need absolute silence. Another may need to have rock music playing constantly. Both get the same amount of work done, but their level of normal, or comfort, is different.
It also reminds me of my writing. I write in bursts. I’m extremely busy with an actual day job, and thus don’t really have the time and energy to spend on serious writing. I get in what I can. Maybe 100 words after work are all I can think of. But I rarely ever write only 100 words. I don’t have a goal, other than 90,000 for the completed book, or around there.
But no one should tell me I need to write 250 words a day. Or even write daily. Sometimes, that doesn’t work. It gets sloppy. Others cannot slack from their needed 500 a day, period. That’s normal for them. For me, 1,500 or 5,000 in a single Saturday afternoon is a bit more comfortable. Right now, I don’t have the time to do more.
So I write what is normal for me. I read what is normal for me. It’s not constant. It’s not measurable. But for some reason, it still ends up taking exactly the amount of time I had planned, assuming I wrote 250 a day. Go figure. My pace was fast, but only in bursts. I didn’t need to slow down, take time.
Don’t slow down. Go normal.
527 words I could have used in a novel.