This is a lonely time for people who want to do things the slow way.
Attention spans are short. Our chaotic, social-media driven world rewards brevity and simplicity. Purity tests are rampant; shades of gray are in short supply.
What if you want to write a blog post instead of a tweet?
What if you want to labor over a beautiful literary novel instead of cranking out a book a month to please Amazon’s algorithms?
It can easily start feeling like you’ve somehow been thrust into an onrushing, frenetic mob that you scarcely have chosen and feel powerless to escape.
A maximalist world
Right now it feels like the world is pushing, pushing, pushing for more. More content, more eyeballs, more pageviews, more clicks. We romanticize overwork, demand maximalism, let ourselves be provoked by minor outrages.
Algorithms are mining the reptilian recesses of our brains to hijack our attention. We’re bombarded by influencers who try to strip the ugliness from life and end up looking like horrific cartoons themselves (and yet we still take quiet note of their success).
Is it possible to actually slow down, calm down, and do what’s important but time consuming?
Well, yes. It is. But it’s harder than it should be.
Quality takes work
There’s still an appetite out there for quality and nuance, though I wish there were more of it.
It’s still worth pursuing dreams, even though it feels sometimes like they were primed for a different world.
Quality, now, takes work. Not just to produce it, but increasingly to consume it.
It’s always been best to go against the tide, and I believe that now more than ever. Heck, I’m still blogging, even though these personal corners of the internet have long since peaked.
I still believe there’s a place for quality. And more power to everyone who chooses this path, but I’m not about to go crank out books to chase some algorithm that can be changed on a whim.
In a flash in a pan, chaotic world, we need quality and meaning more than ever.
Hasn’t it always been true that anything really worth doing took more time?
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Art: Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains by Albert Bierstadt