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The Benefits of a Slow Start

My 2024 is starting off slow. And I’m realizing that’s a good thing in many ways.

Just before Christmas, I got rear-ended while patiently waiting to turn when the driver behind me was distracted (looking behind her at her passenger!) and didn’t see me in time. As I heal, I need to limit screen time (hence, this will be a short post!).

The limitations got me thinking about this slowed-down time I’m living in—limiting internet, phone, and texts and eschewing TV. Even reading is a little hard on my head.

Don’t worry—if you email me, you will get a response: Geri will read my emails and help me respond. Thank you, Geri. And I’m still joyfully leading Get Your Writing Done sessions—just not looking at the screen when I teach! [And, by the way, we’ll soon be adding a revamped version of my book writing program [Bring Your Book to Life] as part of the Get Your Writing Done membership—stay tuned.]

Presence is a Gift!

My mom, Elizabeth, always taught me to look for the good in everything that happens. I realize how slowing down is teaching me about a different way of being in the world, a way that helps me as a writer and a human.

This was taken on a different day, but it captures some of the pink I saw tonight but earlier in the year (more green!).

I walk slower and notice more. An hour ago, I walked down to the bay at the end of our road and marveled at the pink, blue, golden, and mercurial ripples. I felt like I was living in a painting! I stayed for a long time, watching the light and landscape morph before me.

In addition to appreciating the surrounding beauty more than ever, I also notice what it feels like to slow down—to do less and just be present. These are good skills for a writer, but also for a human being!

I write poetry by hand and avoid typing it into the computer. So, I get more time with the creation process without doing much with it. There’s something sacred about drawing out the creation process and enjoying it for what it is…without concerning myself about the other parts. It’s helped me let go of certain measures of success and outcomes and enjoy creating for what it is—the life force moving through me, expressed in myriad ways.

There’s a freedom to create when we let go of outcomes. That’s often when we can be our most innovative or where our work takes an unusual turn and opens up new worlds. Would you agree?

I’m sure I’ll be back to outcomes soon, but in the meantime, I am enjoying Narragansett Bay at twilight, as well as sitting and staring into the fire in the fireplace at night with my husband Tom and son Luke.

I feel that I will return to my more “productive” pursuits with renewed energy and more focus—fewer projects and clearer priorities. So, I give thanks for the nudge for now!

How about you? Please take a moment to comment and share how you are starting 2024. Perhaps you are starting with a powerful focus, renewed energy or bold strategies. Perhaps you are starting with a dream or intention. There’s no one way to begin a new year, so you’ll find no judgment here—just curiosity and a genuine interest in your creative life.

I wish you a happy new year and much joy in your creative process, however it shows up!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jane Haynes says

    This reflection of yours really resonates with me. I have had similar experiences when recovering from foot surgery. The trick is to keep that ability to find serenity when back to “normal”.

    I find bits of it when walking the dog. I focus on the way the light shines through a leaf, or the discovery of a new mushroom in the moss. While these are short moments in time, the feeling of peace lasts, at least until the first email or text message pings!

    Best wishes for a full recovery from your injuries.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Thank you Jane. I love your descriptions of the short moments and peace. And I think those slow-down observations make us better writers–more attentive and attuned to the pace of nature and life.

  2. Shawn Preuss says

    Hi Lisa,
    While I wouldn’t wish pain on anyone, I too have experienced the ‘pause’ moments that pain often brings us to. I send you healing energy! About 12 years ago I started creating annual manifesto’s. I created a structure of theme, focus, perspective and intention that I wanted to enter the new year with. I write the manifesto, sometimes add to a vision board but mostly ‘let it go’. At the six month mark I pull it out and reflect – always telling. But what has amazed me over the years is how much my higher power co-spires with me to manifest my dreams and desires. And it is always an unexpected journey! I tend to be an over-doer which is habitual. My Nana used to always say to me, Everything in Moderation, Shawnee! So that is my theme this year. It will be interesting to see where that leads. 2024 is beginning with intention!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Thank you for sharing Shawn. It sounds like a beautiful process with just the right amount of setting the energy and surrendering! And I love your 2024 intention! Let us know what the intention brings as we move into the new year! As another over-doer, I am also looking to be more focused and clear in where I put my energy and say no to most of the new projects in my head or at least, “maybe” or “let’s wait and see.”

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