Little Victories

Going slowly, at anything, is very hard for me. I don’t like working slowly, or running slowly, or learning slowly. I want it all done now now now, at my pace and no one else’s.

Of course, the world sometimes has other ideas about this. Resistance, gravity and inertia can worm their way into even the most motivated, fast-paced days. Usually, though, through sheer force of will, I can get things into gear.

But adopting a rescue pup has forced me to acknowledge that there are some things that just have to go slowly.

On Monday after our evening walk, two little kids came racing towards Obi for a pat. Now, he views children as the actual devil and previous situations like this have seen him panic, try to scramble under cars, pull into traffic and lose his breakfast.

But he’s come a long way, our boy. I intercepted the kids in time, but he didn’t need me to. After 18 months of work, he just backed up and gave a little warning growl, and that was it.

It’s a victory. It’s progress.

Learning to embrace your own creativity can be the same way. It can be Very Scary to really let it bloom, to acknowledge how much you want to create something, and to enjoy it with your whole heart, instead of tamping down on it.

Immersing yourself in your ideas, in your writing takes practice and a little bit of bravery every time you do it. But every time you do, that’s progress. Every time you choose to believe it’s safe to explore one idea, write one page, that’s progress.

And you do need to feel safe, because this kind of progress will ask you to be vulnerable.
It will ask you to get up close with the things that scare you, repeatedly, until you can metabolise your fear into action, into art.

We all want to go fast. We all want our day in the sun to come now. We want to be successful already, for things to be easy already, for all the work to be done.

It just doesn’t go like that, and that’s the point. It’s these little victories, these breakthrough moments, these opportunities to be truly brave instead of just barrelling by — these are what make for great work.

These moments make your writing come alive. They make you really see what life is doing all around you. They’re the key to going faster, if we can just slow down long enough to notice them.