Blogger: Mary Keeley
Agents often remind writers to be patient during the journey to representation. But it doesn’t stop there. We continue to remind our clients on their journey to publication…or re-publication…as well. This isn’t only wise advice or a nice platitude intended to encourage. It’s a winning strategy.
Patience in relationships. A client let me know she was unhappy with me recently. 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 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.
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 with future editors, marketing and sales staff, and publishing executives when your book is in production. It’s going to take patience on your part because undoubtedly you’ll have a disagreement here and 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. The good relationship you create with your publishing house will make them want to work with you again.
Patience with yourself. An author recently concluded that she needs to be patient with herself during the writing process. Each writer has areas 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 our work and our interactions with others. That kind of attitude creates a teachable spirit that agents and editors look for, and it will preserve your relationships, your reputation, and love for your work. A winning strategy.
When was the last time you needed to exercise patience in your writing life? How did it go? Which part of the writing process is your biggest struggle?
I can’t end today without expressing a heartfelt remembrance of more than three thousand innocent Americans who lost their lives to terrorism thirteen years ago today. Let’s pause and pray for their families that still are hurting. On that horrible day, which will be remembered along with Pear Harbor forever, Americans rallied together spontaneously and turned to God. Let’s pray for America today too.
I’ll be on the road today and will have little time to respond to comments. But enjoy encouraging each other with your stories of how patience paid off for you in your writing life.
Some things in publishing haven’t changed. Patience always is a winning strategy in your writing journey. Click to Tweet.
Patience is the foundation of a winning strategy in your writing life. Click to Tweet.