Bigger, faster, stronger. Now!
Not just society, pop culture or modern fiction are speeding up, but writers themselves too. Constantly trying to exceed our capacity, to be better prepared, write more, write faster, write better. Or get left behind.
But — there’s no bandwagon rushing past you. It may feel like it, but in fact there isn’t. If you really watch it carefully, you’ll notice it’s driving in circles. You can get on it anytime you want. It’s much better if you do it on your own terms, when you’re ready.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Look around you.
There’s all this life going on around you. Take a moment to remember you belong in it as well.
One of the 10 ingredients of a professional writer, which I will talk about in the following weeks, is patience.
Patience is required when we are preparing a new project, when we can’t wait to get started on our brilliant idea, ’cause it’s just itching in our fingers. But we must first prepare the terrain, do some outlining, some characterization, maybe even plan a few scenes ahead, test the idea out. If we just throw ourselves into it, the chances are slim that we’ll actually finish it and make it awesome. It’s just the way it works, especially with long fiction.
Patience is also an absolute must when we edit. The temptation might be high to just skip over the majority of the book in our eagerness to get it out to beta-readers or publishers. Or maybe we rush into the editing process without letting the draft sit for a while, so we can cool down, get a new perspective on things. It’s important that we be patient when editing, because it’s usually what will elevate our story from an oozing pile of words, to a self-contained story.
Do I need to mention we must be patient when dealing with agents, editors and publishers? When dealing with anyone in the writing business? We might be the ones who have the book, but they have their own part to play in the great scheme of things, and if we can’t bring up the patience to let them do their jobs, then maybe we’re not ready to be professional writers yet.
And we must also learn to be patient with ourselves. It takes years to master the craft, hundreds of thousands of words, sleepless nights, towers of books, the occasional howl of despair and maybe even a couple of failed attempts, before we’re even close to becoming actual, professional writers. We’ve got to be more patient, and not expect to become masters over night.
Being patient is one of the hardest things I had to learn. I was always an impatient kid, highly active, never quiet or able to sit still. But when I started writing seriously, when I began working at the universe of my book (and the actual draft) I had to learn to be patient. It took me several false starts, hundreds of pages of world-building, tens of books about the craft of writing, plotting and replotting, discussions, lessons, nightmares, tears — but despite all that, the missing ingredient to make the story blossom was time. It simply took time to ripen. And it forced me to be patient.
So when you’re trudging away at your WIP, feeling like it’s never going to end, like the whole world is whooshing past you and leaving you behind — remember to be patient.
Everything worth-while requires time and patience.
Also –> The winner of the Outline contest will be announced as soon as possible. Due to prior commitments, it will take a few more days but we have certainly not forgotten. Hope you’re patient. 😉