Writing Tip: Slow things down

woman in blue tennis dress position to hit big forehand

So, here’s the thing:  choose something in particular to write about. For example, what it felt like having a tennis lesson after a twenty year break. Give us the specifics. Dig deep for the details, but at the same time be aware of the world around you. As you focus on what you’re writing, at the same time stay conscious of your surroundings:  the white painted cane Bentwood chairs in the café, the cool breeze from under the door on your sandaled feet, the hum of the traffic outside. Just add a sentence every now and then about the trees that overlooked the tennis courts while you were having a tennis lesson. When we focus on our writing it is good. Seeing the colour of the sky when you toss the ball gives breathing space to your story.

If you are sitting in Meditation you calm the butterfly mind by paying attention to your thoughts, giving them space by acknowledging them before returning to the breath, in and out through the nostrils. In the act of slowing down your breathing, as best you can, you remain open so that you are receptive to awareness of sounds as they arise: sounds near, sounds far, sounds in front, behind, to the side, above or below.

With every breath you take, you feel the air, the sound of the ball as it hits the racket, the players on the other courts.

To slow myself down in tennis I often use the one, two, three method when serving or when receiving a ball from the server. I count ‘one’ as I prepare the service swing, ‘two’ as I toss the ball and ‘three’ when the racket connects with the ball. When receiving a serve I count ‘one’ as the server tosses the ball, ‘two’ when the server hits the ball, ‘three’ when I hit the ball to return the serve. It helps. My tennis coach Chris at Wentworth Tennis suggested I do this, to slow things down.

We should always be living in the present, not by ignoring the world around us, but by paying close attention. It is not easy to stay alive to ‘what is’. When we slow things down in our writing (and in our tennis), it is good practice.

What about you? Do you find a daily meditation practice assists your writing practice?

9 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Slow things down

  1. That ‘one, two, three’ technique for tennis also works for golf (not that I play anymore). I first encountered it after reading a book by Timothy Gallwey called “The Inner Game of Golf” (he also wrote “The Inner Game of Tennis”).
    Slowing down works. I often have to remind myself to do it.
    Thanks for reminding me this morning, Libby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s great to hear Sean that the one, two, three technique also works for golf. interesting. i’ve heard about that famous book The Inner Game of Tennis, but haven’t read it yet. will make a note. glad you liked the post. thanks for commenting.


  2. Fantastic advice, Libby for us all…it’s so common we rush at this living and writing lark! For myself I try to slow down during the day through walks, gardening, meeting friends. In writing I think smaller details slows the drama whilst building the atmosphere, adds colour to the scene, creates more rounded characters. An excellent post reminding us all what is important…good luck with your tennis!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you write the best comments ever Annika. so thoughtful. very pleased you liked my writing tip on slowing down. walks and gardening are excellent ways to be present in the moment. and i like your ideas to slow the drama and build atmosphere when writing. good luck as you continue your writing journey.


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