When I started out writing, I was the fat kid at the buffet line–wide-eyed and salivating. My mind was full of new ideas that needed to be put down on “paper”. But first I needed to consume all that I could to help me learn to write well. It was beneficial in so many ways but I vividly remember thinking I wouldn’t have to wait long to have my name out there in the world (jaded to the max!). There was patience back then in the sense that I had to not only come up with all the elements necessary to tell the story but write and write and then finally, write some more. Editing never crossed my mind. I had friends and family read what I wrote and good on them for not laughing in my face and shattering my dreams. To think I was ready back then after my first go just wasn’t feasible.
Over the years, I definitely learned patience. You don’t write two failed novels that don’t meet what I now consider to be a standard of quality and excellence and think I’ve succeeded. I measure my success in this current season by believing I finally learned the skills necessary to write a quality novel/series. My patience to write the bad until I found the better story in my imagination came at a high cost. I think a lot of writers just starting out do come into the game jaded, believing they’ve got the next big thing on their hands. It might be that way for some but the majority (myself included) have to slog through the mud of years of bad writing to reach the end of the track, building the muscles necessary to push through and come out on the other side of the bank.
I’m thankful for my journey. I used to compare mine to others and think I had to switch things up in my life in order to find success by the same route. I hope I can convince other writers that it’s far more beneficial to your character (not your characters) and legacy to blaze your own trail to find success. I’m not convinced there is true joy and satisfaction in your writing if you don’t exercise the patience required. If I have to wait another twenty or thirty years before my stories are published and released to the world, then I know it will be worth it. That’s true patience!
Call to Action: I recommend checking out the bios of writers you enjoy reading. I don’t mean the small blurbs at the back of their books but look for interviews where the writer actually gives a detailed story of their journey. It’s fascinating how different one is from the other.