From an anonymous email:
Dear Jan: I’ve seen you describe yourself as a slow writer. I am one also, and it makes me discouraged to the point I’ve considered quitting. Do you have any advice?
Ah, yes. Speed-of-sloth is the precise phrase I use, and while at one point it was a way of laughing through my pain and frustration, now I type it with a sense of peace. It’s simply become a way to adjust others’ expectations.*
I also consider it to be temporary in that, as I learn about my process, I believe I’ll accelerate. Someday I’ll hit speed-of-snail.
How did I get to that healthier self-concept? It’s often easier for me to see what I believe and why I believe it when I think of others in a similar situation. So I asked myself, What do I know about how to treat people who’ve been labeled slow in other contexts?
While I could talk about my experience with adults in my former medical practice—in fact, I did when I wrote the initial versions of this post, and the principles are the same—you deserve a more visceral and unvarnished truth. Let me tell you about a fine-boned child in my life and the phone call I received one evening, concerning his reading abilities. “Sam” wasn’t keeping up in the educational system, they said. Sam needed help. Caring for Sam took me out of an intellectual headspace into a fierce and stormy advocacy.
Do you have a similar child in mind? Keep them with you as we go through this exercise and I prod you with questions.