workaround for sluggish inkscape
Note: this trick is useless if you want to make a vector drawing. If you're using inkscape for something that should eventually become a .png or .jpg or .gif or etc etc, then it might be useful.
When drawing really complex shapes (such as long texts on paths), inkscape can become very slow and may even crash. You can work around this by isolating the complex shape into a separate drawing. Make sure that drawing has a transparent background (file - document properties - page - backround should show a block pattern on the left and a solid color (usually white) on the right)). Export it at the same resolution as you want to export your final drawing (or maybe the double resolution is better, especially if you want to export at a lower but higher than half resolution too). Delete the complex shape from your original drawing, and import the .png you just exported to replace it.
Be sure to keep the .svg of the complex shape, in case you ever want to make changes to it.
Why does this trick work? Well, simple, inkscape can just look up the pixel values in the .png, instead of needing lots of memory and CPU cycles to render the shape again and again each time you make a change to the drawing.
It's possible you will get better results by exporting the complex shape and the rest of the drawing separately, and combining them in GIMP.