Slow Your Roll

I don’t know about you, but I usually like to get where I’m going as fast as possible. Why drive a Civic if you can’t drive fast? Okay, I hear you mumbling out there, since I admitted in a previous post that I had a bad year when speeding tickets followed me like crows. (Yes, that was an oblique Lord of the Rings reference.) But that’s not important now. What is important is that I get where I’m going quickly.

Today was one of those days where I hit every red light. No matter how fast I sped up, I still couldn’t make the yellow. And even when I reached home and was about to turn in my driveway, there was a little kid, his thin, shaky legs pedaling a bike with training wheels. So, I sat watching him, realizing that this was God’s way of saying, “Slow your roll, girl.”


Another way is through the wait for agents. Those of you on the search know the drill: you query and wait. And wait. And wait. And no amount of blowing or pacing will speed up the response. Trust me on this: I feel your pain. I’m in the middle of that myself.

Perhaps you’ll appreciate the irony of this: I was a manuscript reader for a publisher for almost nine years. (I won’t say which one, so please don’t ask.) Thousands of manuscripts arrived each year. As aslush pile reader, I had to weed through the dreams. With the publisher’s 98% rejection rate, I knew most of those dreams would be quashed until another querying session revived the flame again. (Believe me, saying no to someone is not easy. I never relished the task.)

Anyway, I’ve received a few rejections from agents in recent months. (Go on. Say it with me: “Slow your roll, girl.”) With each rejection, I had to take a step back and rework and cut and cry and try again.

As I considered the daunting task of reworking my WIP yet one more time, one stanza of a poem that I wrote for an exercise came to mind. Since you’re already here, I’ll share it with you, even if you run away screaming.


To Hope
Keats talks of ethereal bursts of hope
And sky-bound drifts of inspiring thought.
I feel earth-bound, on a bus, dreaming of
Clear skies, blue and crisp like fresh washed sheets
and ice cream clouds on a picnic, scattered wide.

Slow your roll—what do the words mean to you? Like me, are you waiting for a response to your literary baby? Are you battling an illness? (I had my share last week.) Facing a decision that tempts you to leap before you look? Tempted to write an angry text or email that could have long-lasting repercussions?

You know what to do. Slow your roll.

P. S. I don’t think I properly thanked Patty at Petite Magique for nominating me for another Sunshine Award and Kristen Mazzola for nominating me for another Liebster Award. So kind!!! Thanks, Patty and Kristen. Had to slow my roll to remember to do that!!!

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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20 thoughts on “Slow Your Roll

  1. I’m not querying, but I understand being impatient for things to just get done, and contemplating further revisions (which are happening). I think I’m learning, though. Pulling back a bit, figuring out what I really want and what it’s worth to me, slowing down.

    Of course, I hope your querying brings quick and positive results. But you’re right, there’s no point leaning on the horn to get a traffic light to change. 🙂

  2. Slow your roll. Excellent advice. I have had to follow it repeatedly in recent months through my own query process. My own professionalism has remained intact. What has surprised me is how lacking it can be in the other direction.

    • Andra, I’m sorry you’ve experienced the ugly side. I’ve had that happen as well, though not so much recently. I sent a snail mail query years ago. It was returned with a really nasty handwritten note for no other apparent reason than to show the bad mood of the sender. I hope you hear some good news soon! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’ve been working on slowing my roll for a few years now! Years!! When I moved to the Twin Cities I drove like a maniac (it was the Californian in me). It’s taken a lot to unwind. I think a real appreciation for poetry requires that effort, too. Digesting each word, feeling the rhythm … in many ways a lost art in our fast-paced society.

    • I agree! I appreciate the craft of a poem that breathes and moves like yours, but writing such a poem is a totally different experience for me. I haven’t slowed my roll yet to really delve deep. Too pedestrian in my thoughts. And I think about ice cream an awful lot. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. 1. I don’t have a Civic, but I do have a Honda Fit, and I believe it is equally as easy to look down and realize, “Oh, I’m going 85. I should slow down.”
    2. With writing, patience is the main quality we all have. I’d love to be finished with this draft, I’d love to have something published, but I know it’s important to take the careful time now to have something good enough, and then to be patient and keep working as I wait for the elusive book contract.

    • Are we twins separated at birth??? Sadly I don’t say, “I should slow down.” I’ll keep checking your blog to check on your progress up Mt. Publication! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thank you. You’re extremely kind. Unfortunately the second stanza is pretty awful. Totally off, rhythm-wise. See, this is why I don’t write poetry much!

  5. I’m one of those who gets impatient just walking (er, speeding) down the sidewalk, so I get you! My issue is with querying too soon– I’ve had to learn to hold back and polish before I send my work out. Thanks for the reminder!

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