I’m teaching students how to “pace” their writing. Pace is the speed at which a reader will experience our writing. I teach students to manage pace in several ways:
They can speed up the pace with shorter sentences, strong verbs, and action. Give me a three-word sentence. Make it quick. Keep me engaged.
They can slow down the pace with isolated sentences (sentences that stand alone as their own paragraph), long sentences with semicolons and commas, and more reflective writing (an interlude). They can also vary the pace of the writing by asking a question to the reader (interrogatives). It’s fun and so effective to invite students to change the pace of a paragraph of writing; otherwise, we’re either bored with a slow pace or exhausted by a racing one.
The key is to modulate pace.
They mark in their papers the 3 I’s of Pacing: Isolated Sentences, Interrogatives, and Interludes.
We love to locate where other writers change the pacing of their writing as well.
This isn’t just true of writing. It’s true of teaching. It’s true of how we shape the day. After lots of action, invite reflection. Ask a question to encourage meaningful interaction with the day. Then go back to action. Then return to a slower pace.
Some of us race all day long. I’m learning to vary the pace of the day. It’s helps to conserve energy, keep my attention focused, and build perseverance.