The Virtue of Patience

Wikipedia states, “Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.”

In the world today, instantaneous responses to our questions and queries lend to a feeling of quick gratification, and this is considered the norm.  Our culture of communication means fast and now.  It started with email and IM’s, morphed to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, allowing us to send and receive responses within seconds.  I mean, the idea of having to wait for an answer or opinion about something nowadays seems ludicrous. 

But, if you want to write a book and pursue publishing, don’t expect any of it to happen quickly.  There are a multitude of areas where a writer must have, or must learn patience.  It’s needed for virtually for every decision made and every hint of progress towards that goal.

First, you have to write about something.  Do you have the patience for the long haul in crafting a salable story or article?  For the time it may take to write the book you’ve always dreamed of, or to build a platform for a non-fiction piece of work, do you have what it takes to make that happen?  Neither of these is typically done in weeks, or months, but usually in years.

What about publishing?  Will you be prepared to query over and over (potentially hundreds of times) while waiting months in between for responses?  Yes, even though a lot of agencies and publisher’s now accept queries via email, that hasn’t sped up the actual process of reading the material any faster than when they came by snail mail.  I’ll use my own situation as a personal example.  My agent allows the editors he’s approached anywhere from one to three months to make a decision.  And, he only queries a few at a time.  If there are “hundreds”, well, you can see my point by doing the simple math.

And, even if you self-publish, do you have the patience to self-promote, build an online presence, spend the time talking about how great your book is to people who may not care?

While writing this, it’s enough to discourage even me.   But…, I believe that if you can stand the thought of working on your book to the point you are sick of it, and you want to take the time to really polish it by using an editor to the point, they too are sick of it, you may be ready to tackle the challenge. 

Be sure you understand all of the possible points of failure in this process, and then, realize you are no different from the other writers/authors who went before you.  There is only one exception and that is; you are the only one who knows what will be required of you and whether or not you have the patience for it.

 

 


COMMENTS

  • Averil Dean

    January 19, 2013

    Reply

    You’re so right. Publishing is slow as molasses, there’s no getting around it. You’d think the concept would sink in during the actual writing process, but somehow it never does. I think it’s because of that anxiety we talked about. You’re waiting for someone else to decide whether to make your dream come true, and that mental state is a hard one to bear for extended periods of time. I try to take it like a Victorian, hands folded in my lap and a stiff upper lip. More often I deal like a sulky teenager. Lots of foot stamping and sad-face emoticons.

    • donnaeve

      January 19, 2013

      Reply

      I recall feeling anxious just sending emails to co-workers…, not quite the same feeling of anticipation as this obviously, but if I was proposing a change, or something, I’d sit and bite my nails all day waiting for their reply. The waiting during this submission has been a hundred times worse, but I’ve learned to try to forget it. (wtf??) There are times though where I’ll mope, throw myself a little pity party and then I try to get over it, all the while knowing I will feel that way again…(and again)


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