Friday, December 4, 2009

Patience

If there is one thing I have learned in this industry it is that patience is a major part of it. For a while I was always in this big hurry. I had these ridiculous thoughts: If I don't finish this now and get it published the world of books along with the entire industry is going to crumble and my book won't have seen the light of day. If I don't hurry and find an agent someone else is going to think of my idea and it will be old and used. If my agent doesn't read this soon all the teenagers in the universe are going to stop reading and no publishers will want YA anymore.

Yeah, very productive thoughts. The thoughts and attitude actually led to a very unhealthy, obsessive writing schedule. I remember times when I'd stay up way past midnight only to wake up at first light. If I didn't get my book out of my head I'd forget it, I would reason.

It didn't help that once other people learned I was a writer their first question was: Really? What do you have published? OR Cool. When is your book getting published?

I've come a long way since those early days. Most of it was forced by circumstances out of my control. Once I was waiting on someone else's action, I no longer had the control that was keeping me obsessed. I could stress and check my email and worry, but ultimately I could do nothing but wait. And in waiting I have learned peace. I have learned that it's okay to step away from everything, to slow down. It's okay to take my time writing. I don't forget my story. And sometimes letting it simmer for a while presents new plot points and solutions.

I've learned that writing is not a race but an event. It is something, like eating, that must be done and when I take the time to savor it, I enjoy it. When I enjoy the act, I don't think about the outcome as much. I really do love to write and I'm glad that I have learned that as in many aspects of life, patience is definitely a virtue needed in this industry.

If you're new to the writing world, know that there is no such thing as overnight success in this industry. And if you aren't new, I'm sure you've learned, like I have, that waiting is just part of the process.

11 comments:

  1. Patience is most definitely one of the most difficult aspects of being a writer. We must be patient as we wait for an agent, for a sale, for an editor, for a release date...

    But you're right - it's just part of the process! ;-)

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  2. Aw, Kasie, you took the words right out of my mouth:) You know I could have written that post. How far we've come!

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  3. Kasie,

    I am so right there with you on this. My first full request made me into a crazy, email-checking freak. I was obsessed. And then time passed, and more time, and asking for status updates, and then... nothing. I've never heard back and that experience broke me of the nasty obsessive habits. Now, I have some stuff out with agents (even one at my dream agency) and I am at peace about it. Things really do happen when they are supposed to. We can't see all ends. And that extremely difficult experience has made me a more balanced person, and for that I'm grateful. Thanks for the great post.

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  4. Very wise advice. I am in the beginning stages of writing, but I have learned that publishing is slow business.

    I'm like you in that I wanted to rush through and finish my first draft quickly. It didn't take long to figure out that wasn't going to happen. I'd much rather take my time and produce a relatively decent first draft than rush through and have to throw most of it out.

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  5. How about I have patience for you and you have patience for me? Oh wait, I'm more impatient for you than you are for yourself!

    You are wise. :)

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  6. good post - patience is what I'm working on right now. I want to hurry and get my rough draft done, but my life isn't stopping while I write so I need to allow myself to write when I can and not let my house fall apart in the process.

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  7. Well said. Patience is definitely something I've learned over the years. The more I've learned about publishing, the more I've realized that nothing happens fast and when it actually does, it still not very fast.

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  8. Patience is a frustrating word. It makes me nervous just to say it. I've given up ever having it, but I have enough outside distractions to keep me from rushing too much. I am forced from time to time to let my work simmer, such as the last two months.

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  9. Great post, I can relate for sure! I vacillate (sometimes hourly) between patience "all in good time" and fear "it's now or never."

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  10. you rock!!! I agree... even though, I do miss your obsessive compulsive writing schedule. It made me feel normal... I too, have calmed down. It's so true, you just have to enjoy the ride.
    Jenni

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  11. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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