Dramaquill's All Things Writing

January 26, 2010

To be a successful Writer – Part 3

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This next quality, patience, is one that I struggle with every single day.  By nature, I’m just not a patient person and I really have to take a breath and practise this quality.

If you really want to be a successful writer, you won’t survive without patience.

Have you ever submitted your work to a contest, publisher or agent?  Then you’ll know what I mean.  Either the wait times are so long (up to a year) or the guidelines state that you’ll only be contacted if they are interested in your submission.

Writers need to develop an ability to let go of their work once they’ve sent it out to someone.  With such long waiting periods, it’s the only way to survive.

And what do you do while you’re waiting?

You continue to write, revise and sub more pieces.  And, you continue to wait.

Waiting can be one of life’s biggest stress factors for those who cannot come to terms with being patient.

And with patience comes something else that I struggle with…not getting annoyed or restless while I’m waiting.  That’s the second half of patience and really the only way to survive in this business. 

But waiting to hear back on submissions isn’t the only area where a writer must embody patience.  Here are a few others:

  1. Waiting for your work to come out in print  (many magazines are
    buying pieces for issues 4 & 5 yrs. into the future).  Seeing your
    book in print can take years as well.  With editing, cover design,
    printing and binding the copies and distributing them to sellers, it’s
    a very lengthy process.
  2. Even with the excitement of having your writing accepted, there’s
    always a wait before the cheque arrives in your mailbox.  With many
    magazines paying on publication, you might have an acceptance
    in 2008 but the piece won’t be out until 2012, which is when you
    will receive payment.  Even publishers who pay on acceptance still
    take a couple of months at the least to send payment.
  3. Once your book is out there, you have to promote it and many
    writers do book signings, interviews and speaking engagements to
    get their name and the name of their book into the public eye.  With
    so much competition, not only from other authors but other sources
    of creative entertainment as well, promoting your book will be a
    time-consuming endeavour.

But above all, there is one area, more than any other, where you MUST be able to demonstrate your deepest form of patience, and that is when it applies to your writing and revising.  If you’ve never written a book before, it’s going to take patience to get it all down as well as organizing your plot, developing your characters and churning out that first draft.  Then, it will require more patience than you might imagine as you begin revising and rewriting. 

And impatient writer will not keep at it until the manuscript is the best possible version of the end product, likely sending out a subpar submission, resulting in a guaranteed rejection.

Have the patience to develop your patience.

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