Patience

So sorry I made you wait for a new post.  It’s been a busy week.  Sad to say, I haven’t gotten a great deal of writing done, but Life intruded.

This weekend I flew out of state to visit a new friend.  Trying to save a little money and maximize our time together, I decided to leave from a larger airport and to do so very early in the morning.  I figured at five a.m. no one is likely to be going anywhere, right?

Wrong!  The line going through security was incredible.  It began at the bottom of the stairs and stretched around the corner and all the way down an interminable hallway, where it snaked back and forth for a few roped-off sections before spilling out into the security area.  I was frustrated beyond belief, glancing at my watch and shifting my feet, about to cry.  I had not only packed properly, but limited myself to one carry-on, my purse and a gift bag.  I wasn’t even checking a bag and still got caught in this mess!

I made it through security in thirty seconds flat, jammed my shoes and jacket back on and ran to my gate, only to find my flight had closed ten minutes before.  After a reroute, an extra changeover and a couple of infuriating weather-related delays, I made it.  I only lost four hours with my friend instead of the entire weekend.  That was a long four hours though, especially the last delay.

Patience is a great virtue for a writer.  You have to wait to hear back from a query (if you ever do), wait for research subjects to get back to you, fight the frustration of writer’s block or the race to finish a piece.  I hear tell money can be slow coming in.  Any freelancer knows about that one.  And then there is the long, slow slog toward being published.  For most people, it can take years.  That’s where patience really comes into play.  If you’re the type to give up easily, this is not the career for you.

I’m easily frustrated and impatient as hell, but when it counts I can stick to it like nobody’s business.  No matter what, I’ll keep trying.  If I truly enjoy someone’s company and the feeling is mutual, then I’ll hang through thick and thin.  If I like what I’m doing, I’m much more likely to keep doing it.  That’s not a problem here.  I love writing, so I do it even if no one reads it.  Of course, after years of keeping it to myself the time has come to put it out there.  And so another round of patient waiting begins.

Unlike waiting for a plane, waiting for a break in writing is an evolving thing.  While you exercise that patience there is much to do.  Practice makes perfect.  Your craft demands that you continually improve.  Lessons and exercises, journal entries and posts, editing and drafting and scouring agent websites and synopses and queries will fill your time.  And of course, writing.  Always writing.

Keep doing it.  As you wait and write, you will build an oeuvre, a body of work that even if unpublishable will show you how far you’ve come.  You’ll go back and look at your old stuff and laugh, perhaps cringe at an awkward POV or lack of scene breaks.  You’ll come across a phrase or passage so good it inspires something new.  You’ll read the work of others and growl jealously even as you feverishly thumb through white-hot pages, or laugh delightedly at a fresh turn of phrase.  Then you’ll hit the page again yourself in a frenzy of creation.  The wait is its own reward.

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