The Art of Patience

All too often I see authors who want to bang out their manuscript, get it published, and buy Hawaii on their advances and royalties. The one thing these authors AREN’T willing to do is do things right, and it all begins with patience.

Case in point is an author who sent me her manuscript. Oh, how I loved the idea of it. The marketing and promo practically wrote themselves – except for one thing; the author had a great story to tell, but didn’t have the experience to properly tell it. After two tries at editing, I had to turn it down.

I’m not sure who was more frustrated; me or the author. I knew she had an amazing story, and I knew I could sell the snot out of it. She, on the other hand, was extremely frustrated at my turning it down twice, and offered to take my editiorial suggestions to “fix it.” The problem is, she was so inexperienced that she didn’t really know what needed fixing unless I specifically pointed them out. This kind of hand-holding is time consuming and soul-sucking for me.

Rarely does one pick up a keyboard and bang out an amazing manuscript. It takes patience to learn the elements of writing, how to know the difference between fluff and brilliance, and write with brevity and style.

Anything worth doing requires patience. Before I got my driver’s license a million years ago, I never thought I’d learn to parallel park. I kept screwing it up. I knew they wouldn’t have me parallel park on the driver’s test, but my dad insisted I know how to do it. I grumbled that I was missing viable beach days, to the point where my dad finally tossed up his arms and said, “Anyone can give up and go to the beach. Is that who you are? Or are you better than that? Stronger than that? Parallel parking requires patience because you’re manipulating a large box on four wheels to do something funky, and you have to move the steering wheel counter to what your brain is telling you to do. Now go do it.”

Yah, he totally called me out. I wanted stuff right then and there. The idea of having to be patient enough to dedicate hours to learning something new was appalling to my nearly 16-year-old brain.But I reeeeeally wanted my license, so I worked my butterks off.

And this is what writers need to do as well. If you’re just starting out and you have aspirations larger than just plinking away on your keyboard, then give yourself the gift of patience to do it right. Don’t be the author with an amazing story and the inability to properly tell it. In the words of my dad, “Go out and do it!”

If you want to see the art of patience in action, please watch this short vid of Konsta Punkka, who spends four hours every day photographing animals in their habitat. Because of his patience, he’s captured some incredible photos.

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