Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writing is a Test of Patience

You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz where the witch is melting? 

My brain feels like that.

See, I just finished a book that I've been working on for 15 months. (That's one month less than the entire time I've lived in Boston, to put that in perspective for you.) And it is joyous feeling, knowing that you've told someone's story. That you started something--and finished it! Because some days while you're drafting it feels as if you never will. I know I feel that way all the time. It's almost impossible to be a writer and have things NOT feel impossible.

I blame the waiting. Writing involves a lot of waiting. There are tons other people in the world who talk about the correlation between writing and waiting. In fact, if you google various versions of "writers/writing" and "waiting" you get "about 181,000,000 results (0.23 seconds)". LOTS of people have things to say on waiting.

It's such a popular topic because writing is a test of patience.

Slushing through words can feel like torture. Finding the right ones to tell a character's story to someone else. Building a world. Prioritizing life so you CAN write. Computers, jobs, the cute shows on TV and the weather ALL test a writer's patience. And that's before you have agent, while you have an agent and forever until you die.

No one likes tests. But where writing is concerned, I think waiting is the best kind of test we can face. Why? Simple: It proves how much you want it.

Waiting is part of life. Someone somewhere said: "Between the wish and the thing lies the waiting."
Between what you want and what you have (what you can have) you always have to wait. How do you survive the waiting?? Passion.

The passion that you have for writing will be the only thing that overcomes all the rest of life. The stories, the characters...all of it. That's what matters most. Because honestly, you can wait forever for the "right" story, the "right" agent, the "right" timing and never get it. I like to think that the waiting part is what weeds out the people who are serious about writing, who can't function without it--and those who are only in love with the idea of writing. If you can't wait for something then how much do you really want it? How willing are you to work 15 months and 6 rewrites for one book? How long will you wait to get the thing you want--a few months, a few years, decades? What are you willing to give up so what you want becomes a reality?

Waiting is good. It lets you think about what you're doing. Why you're doing it. What you want out of it. It's like marriage--do most people wake up and meet someone on the street and marry them in the same day? No way! That'd be crazy. You wait. You get to know each other. You make sure it's someone you love, someone you support and get along with, someone you can't live without. It's a process like everything else.

Writing is a test of patience, of passion, of hope. There's a lot of waiting involved, but the old cliche says the best things in life are worth waiting for.

I certainly hope the old cliche is right because I'm waiting. Luckily, I don't have to wait alone. There are 181,000,000 other people who have waited and are waiting. 
Quotes to think about....

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.

Patience is the art of hoping. ~Marquis De Vauvenargues 

The three P's of success: passion, persistence and patience. ~Doug Bronson 

Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls. ~Maya Angelou 

It's a new month...What are you waiting on? Why? Are you being patient? Is that easy or hard? How long are you willing to wait for the thing you want to happen?

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