I read an interesting piece today by author Jill Jepson on the importance of cultivating patience in your writing life. Patience isn't something we discuss very often when we talk about writing, because it so often seems frenetic, and deadline driven. I know I'm one of the worst at this, too, I feel like I'm almost always writing with my back against the proverbial wall, careening headlong into deadlines. It's one of the reasons I post my daily word counts, to help keep my pedal to the metal.
But I do approach my work with a great deal of patience. As Jill discusses, there are many uncontrollable aspects to your writing life: the editors who don't get back to agents, the agents who don't get back to queries, the reviewers and magazines who don't respond to publicist. One must learn great patience, and strength, to deal with these issues.
There is also the traditional publishing phenomenon of completing a book, then having to wait three to six months to a year for it to arrive on bookshelves, which trust me, takes a LOT of patience, and has helped turn indie publishing into very viable alternative, especially for those writers who write fast and don't want to move at the traditional world steamship pace.
But there is also the space you must create for your brain when you are in creation mode. When you are pushing hard, writing daily, pouring words like honey all over the page, you must allow it time to recover, time to power up again after you deplete its stores. This is cultivating patience.
The creative's brain is very much like a battery, one that will run for a very long time, but also needs breaks to recharge. It's hard to be patient in those times, when you're rushing toward a goal, and all you want is to finish, but the words won't come properly. Your brain needs to be shut down and plugged in to build up the power stores again.
But on deadline, patience is the last thing on your mind. And yet, by taking a breath, giving yourself some space, some time away -- even if it's only a day, or a few hours -- you help the creative process tremendously. So don't be so hard on yourself, fellow writer. Cultivate patience with yourself.
2100 today, and now I'll shut down for a bit to give my own brain some time to recharge. But not for long -- I have a chat tonight at Writerspace.com to talk about the new Sam book, WHEN SHADOWS FALL. So much for cultivating my own patience, right? I hope I'll see you there.