Blogger: Mary Keeley
Writers are continually advised to be patient during the journey to representation. And once you have an agent, the need for it begins again during the knuckle-biting process of waiting for your first—or next—contract offer. Patience is a necessary tool of the trade, but it’s a challenge to overcome a love-hate relationship with it. How well are you succeeding in the day-to-day trenches of your writing life?
Synonyms for patience include: composure, self-control, serenity (yes!), diligence, tolerance, imperturbability (good one!), backbone, fortitude, grit, calmness (yes, indeed), long-suffering (oh, yes), humility (uh huh), and constancy.
Rate your patience level on a scale of one (problem area) to five (doing great) on each of the following statements:
- I don’t get frustrated with myself during the plotting phase of my book.
- I readily accept the fact that my writing career is half the actual writing and half the marketing and promoting of my books.
- I receive my critique partners’ or editor’s constructive criticisms without becoming defensive. I’m thankful they catch problems I missed.
- Much as I would like to hear from my agent regularly, I recognize that he or she cannot send weekly reports about shopping my book or email me just to say hi. I understand that if agents did that for all their clients, they wouldn’t have time to do their job.
- I am willing to take whatever time is needed to find a unique angle for my nonfiction topic or do yet another rewrite of my novel.
- Although receiving rejections from agents and editors hurts, their comments point to areas in which I need to improve. As a result I am becoming a better writer.
- I recognize it takes time to grow my social media following and to build my platform. I’m willing to do the hard work and continue to learn new ways to reach my target readers at the same time I am writing my next book.
- I am patient with myself when I can’t think of the perfect solution to a problem chapter. Instead of trying to grind my way through to maintain a self-imposed writing schedule, I am able to calmly step away from it for a few days, knowing that the solution often becomes apparent when I go back to it, refreshed.
- I realize that the first book I write usually is “practice.” Perhaps the second and third books are practice too. It helps to remind myself that Davis Bunn wrote seven books in nine years before his first book was published. This inspires me to persevere.
- I realize that my writing career is in God’s perfect control and timing for his purposes.
Patience is all about the grace that preserves an optimistic outlook toward your work and your interactions. Reminding yourself daily, if necessary, that your writing career is in God’s hands fosters a positive attitude that enables you to have a teachable spirit, which agents and editors look for in writer. Look again at the synonyms for patience and see that there is purpose in having this writer’s tool at the ready every day.
Total your score and share it with us. Which areas of the writing life frustrate you most? In which areas are you succeeding? What positive purposes do you see in having to be patient?
How well are you succeeding in the day-to-day trenches of your writing life? Test your patience here. Click to Tweet.
The writing life requires patience. Take this quiz to find out how well you’re faring. Click to Tweet.