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