Blogger: Mary Keeley
I look forward to the new year, don’t you? With last year’s successes and rejections behind you, beginning anew on a clean slate is invigorating and breeds HOPE, especially when you launch with a good strategy. Today I want to focus on a key ingredient.
Agents often remind writers to be patient during the journey to representation. But it doesn’t stop there. We continue advising our clients to persevere on their journey to publication and re-publication. This isn’t only wise advice or a nice platitude intended to encourage. It’s a strategy for success.
PATIENCE IN RELATIONSHIPS
A client once let me know she was unhappy with me. I hadn’t responded to her email when I said I would, and she was feeling neglected. That cut deeply because responsiveness to clients is a high value to me. I felt awful that she felt unimportant. But I needed to be patient with her remarks because she didn’t understand that at the time she communicated, I was in the midst of 20 meetings with publishers at ICRS (now Unite) and then would be flying directly to a writers conference to teach two workshops. The pace was so fast, I didn’t enter a note on my calendar, and by the time I got back to the office, I had forgotten about responding. As much as any of us tries not to, we’re going to mess up once in a while. It’s part of being human. Thankfully, she responded in patience with me once I explained the timing.
Writers who practice patience early in their writing life and choose to view delays, discouragements, rejections…and yes, oversights…through a positive lens are preparing themselves for successful relationships. Relationships with editors, marketing and sales staff, and publishing executives when your book is contracted and in production.
It’s going to take patience on your part because undoubtedly you’ll have a disagreement here or there. Note any defensive reaction you might be having and surrender it to a spirit of patience while you give yourself time to think through the issue. Of course editors are human too, and occasionally they’re wrong. That’s when you bring your agent in to mediate difficult discussions. This preserves the good relationship you’ve created with your publishing house, which moves them to want to work with you again.
PATIENCE WITH YOURSELF
An author I know once came to the wise conclusion that she needs to be patient with herself during the writing process. Each writer has areas of the craft that are easier for him or her than others. Plotting might come easily for other authors, but it was a stickler for her. Instead of getting frustrated and tempted to give up (never a productive atmosphere in which to do one’s best writing), she’s learned to factor time into her writing schedule for brainstorming ideas and then trying each one out until she finally creates the one that works seamlessly. This part of writing is going to require her most patient, gracious energy toward herself. She said patience “will help me not give up but continue to wade through, seeking out others who are natural plotters.”
Patience is all about the grace that preserves a positive, optimistic outlook toward your work and your interactions with others. That kind of attitude creates a teachable spirit, which agents and editors look for. And it will preserve your relationships, your reputation, and love for your work. A strategy for success.
Patience keeps a steady foot on the accelerator, but impatience taps the brake.
When was the last time you needed to exercise patience in your writing life? With yourself? How did it go? Which part of the writing process is your biggest struggle?
Some things in publishing don’t change. Patience is a necessary strategy in your writing career. Click to Tweet.
Patience with the process and yourself is a foundational strategy for success in your writing life. Click to Tweet.