Waiting For The Bus

“Dear God—I pray for patience. And I want it right now!

—Oren Arnold

When I came across this quote it made me laugh, but I could also see some truth in it as well. Patience is something many of us struggle with, myself included.

Granted, it might be nice to have our lives unfold in a timely fashion, but lets face it life doesn’t work that way. We wait and we wait and, then to add insult to injury, we wait some more.

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for others over the years. When my daughters were away at school we’d go to the bus station to wait for them to come home, one from Fredericton, the other from Shelburne. The bus they travelled on was always late especially in the winter months. Sometimes we’d sit and wait for an hour or more. Of course once we saw that bus coming in the distance we were so happy to see them that we soon forgot about the long wait we’d just endured. Over time, we came to accept the fact that the bus would not be waiting for us when we arrived. It would be late as usual and there was nothing we could do about it.

Writing is like that. There is nothing fast about the publishing industry. Who spends more time waiting than a writer? A writer needs patience during every stage of the writing process. Patience is needed to keep us writing even after our initial love affair with that brilliant idea is over. Beginnings are filled with enthusiasm. Good thing or we wouldn’t bother to see it through to the end.

Stories do not just come about without a lot of work. Sure, it might be nice if we could have a polished story in three months instead of three years, but the truth of it is, some stories can take a long time to work out. Sometimes the buffing and polishing can take more time than the initial story, and yet we patiently rework sentences and paragraphs reaching for those perfectly sounding prose. Even during those times when we’re almost certain we’re writing pure drivel.

More patience is required to ensure that we do not become too anxious and send our work out before it is ready. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past. Taking some time away from our latest masterpiece helps us to see any places that require more work.

Again we need patience as we await a decision from a busy editor. As much as we’d like to think that we are an editor’s priority, we are only one of many hopefuls out there. Even after our work has been accepted, we must have patience as we wait for our book to finally be published. My book was accepted in April and was not published until October of the following year.

I sometimes think those writers who are awaiting publication need the greatest patience of all. Once we’re published there is no going back. No one can take that from us. But for those still waiting it is easy to become discouraged and give up. This is when we truly need patience. This is when we need to remind ourselves of the day “when” publication comes and not “if.”

I wrote for many years before my book was published. When I first started writing it was my goal to be published in book form. I spent many years working at short stories, setting aside what my original goal was until the time was right. It wasn’t always easy. I wasn’t always patient. I often complained out of frustration.

Patience isn’t something we can hold it in our hands or sit it on a shelf and show it off for everyone to see. We can’t wait for it to find us and it’s not something we can go in search of. But it can be ours if we choose to allow it with a little change of thought.

How about you, do you struggle to find patience in your life? Or have you found that place of peace where you are content to wait for your bus to arrive?

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21 Comments

  1. Are you kidding me? I NEVER want to wait for the bus. I want to DRIVE the bus.

    Reply
    • Somehow Dave, I couldn’t picture you waiting for the bus., but actually driving it? You must have nerves of steel. Too funny. I bet you’d even blow the horn a few times wouldn’t you? As a warning I mean…

      Reply
  2. I have way too much anxiety to be a good wait-er.My second pregnancy tested my waiting patience to a new level. And both my babies were 2 weeks late.

    Reply
    • I agree, Tricia. Waiting is such a waste of time. I can sometimes find patience but not always. Sometimes patience seems only to carry us so far. Of course the alternative is to stew in frustration. Great options. :)

      Reply
  3. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life being patient…for once, it would be nice to have instant gratification!

    Wendy

    Reply
    • I hope one day you will have instant gratification. Would be nice to feel it once in awhile. Wouldn’t it?

      Reply
  4. both – depends on the day. :)

    Reply
    • I usually feel that the moment I think I have all sorts of patience I end up being tested once again. Some days it is more difficult to have patience. Oh yes, I remember those days! I’m sure my kids do too. lol!

      Reply
  5. I often struggle with this. When I landed an agent (FINALLY!), I thought my waiting days were over. Instead, they had just begun…four years of fruitless waiting, until I finally let her go.

    I know that I will get there someday, but I often panic about the time I’ve already wasted, sitting at a computer all day in some soulless job that a monkey could do. “When is it going to happen?” I whine. “WHEN?” Staying on track and keeping your confidence up when you’re on this side of the fence is a constant battle. It’s so easy to get depressed or distracted, or spend all your time reading other people’s books when you should be writing your own.

    I think your bus metaphor is very apt, Laura. When it finally does happen, all the time waiting will seem more than worth it.

    Reply
    • You’ll definitely get there, Holli. We always like to know when and that’s the part that drives us insane. I’m of the opinion that times is not really ever wasted. We might feel that is it, but everything in life has a purpose. It is there to teach us something. Sometimes it is not until time lapses do we figure out what that purpose was. Sometimes we may never be absolutely sure.

      Are you in the process of looking for another agent?

      Wishing you the best while you wait for your bus to come along!!

      Reply
      • Hi Laura,

        Oh, I hope so! Some days I’m more sure than others.

        I’m not looking for a new agent yet. I want to finish my new novel first, so I’ll have something fresh to query with. In the meantime, I’m entering book one in a contest for a publishing contract with St. Martin’s Press.

        Thanks for the words of encouragement

        Reply
  6. I love the quote! I can be impatient, especially in day-job situations when the “way it’s always been done” is chosen over a faster, simpler method. The administrivia bus never seems to get out of first gear! On other levels, I have a lot of patience that, I think, comes from having a baby at 45. I definitely had to learn quickly to pick the times to expend energy and the times to conserve it with a deep breath–and patience.

    Reply
    • A baby at 45!! I am in awe of you. Couldn’t imagine that for a moment. My patience I’m afraid would be very thin. I’d be ready to catch the first bus out!!!

      Seriously, I sometimes wonder if we don’t have more patience when children come along later in life. Could be because I’m now a grandmother that I wonder about those things.

      Reply
  7. I don’t know that I’m a very patient person, but I guess I’m fairly philosophical. There’s certainly lots of waiting in a writer’s life — none of the steps to publishing happen quickly — but since there’s no way to predict how long the wait will be I think we need to shift our focus to something more productive. I find time goes more quickly when I’m busy, so instead of thinking about what I’m waiting for, I get busy writing something else, add some new activity to the mix or change my daily schedule around.

    Mind you, your bus comment reminds me of the quip, “With my luck, when my ship comes in I’ll be waiting at the airport.” When mine arrives I’ll probably be so busy doing something else I won’t notice!

    Reply
    • You’re right, Carol. Putting all our energy on waiting for something to happen is not very productive at all. Keeping busy, moving on, are both good ways to help the time go by. Personally, I’ve experienced a lot of exciting things at a time when I least expected it. It seems when I’m waiting for a certain outcome and putting a lot of energy into it, what I’d like to have come my way usually evades me.

      Reply
  8. I agree, Laura, that patience is quite a rare virtue these days, when everything has to happen at the click of a mouse button. Probably one reason why youngsters these days are always on the ‘fast lane’.. There were times when the young and old of the family would get together and have an hour or two of complete quality time, during which they would just relax and talk. These days, even at such occasions, most of the family members can be seen texting away to madness on their mobiles or computers.
    Studies have proved that patience on the roads has diminished. Also, that young people addicted to their mobiles and laptops show minimum amount of patience in all walks of life.
    Many of us would go crazy if we had to face a power cut that lasts for a couple of days.. the irritation to ‘know’ immediately, who has emailed us, the impatience to get on top of what the FB friends are up to.. the quick success involved in IT culture.. everything happens before time.

    Yet, it is mandatory that we cultivate patience as not only a virtue but also a strength.

    Reply
    • So true. I fear that our children are growing up with too much technology at their disposal. The world is changing so quickly. I think it’s a shame that children do not spend as much time with older family members. Over the years I have come to appreciate what our older citizens have to offer in the way of wisdom.

      Reply
  9. I’m an Aries. I was born impatient. :)

    Reply
  10. I have visualized things that have taken decades to appear, but they surprisingly have happened. Perhaps dreaming the same dream over without expectations is part of patience. When my expectations are high, that is when I need patience!!

    Reply
    • Hi Liz, Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I happen to think that visualization is a very powerful tool. I’m sure there are some out there who scoff at it, but I’m fine with that. Even those non-believers should be able to agree that visualization is enjoyable and often brings us great pleasure. As kids we often daydreamed and what fun it was! You are right about how patience really needs to be applied when our expectations are high. That is the time when we seem to think we can put a time limit on our dreams. Some things do take a long time to manifest, but if we are able to set our desires aside and allow life to unfold we’ll often be surprised by the results.

      Reply

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