Martian Thoughts

Fast and slow


Fast-approaching deadlines can be useful. When I only have five minutes to write one of these articles, I can get to the point in only a few lines. I can almost feel my mental faculties sharpening with the urgency, and stress letting go of everything that is not essential, like bags of sand from a balloon, and focusing on flying off to the article’s conclusion.

Then there’s slow doing. Remove all time constraints and a different form of action is allowed to happen. It may be writing, programming, making music or going for a walk around the neighbourhood. When there is no time limit, we produce distinct results. Longer formats bloom like flowers in spring. We create work that is thoroughly checked and improved upon – indeed, often shortened. More than anything, we make different things.

One approach isn’t better than the other, and we might not always be able to choose. However, when we stick with one of them, we must be aware that we’re missing out on the other. Making a conscious effort to practise both seems wise.