Patience has never been one of my virtues.
Kindness – yes.
Humility – got it.
Temperance – yup, go rule-follower me!
Chastity – ummm…well, lets just get back to patience.
Being a writer requires so much patience. For me, that element of the craft is harder than getting the words to page, plotting the storyline, or even coming up with the ever-important inciting incident.
Writers patiently hold their ideas and creative genius until they can fondle the words onto the page. They craft it so it flows like a river, and wait for the story to come together like magic. None of which is easy, especially for a writer whose head races like a thoroughbred.
Writing a novel is like giving birth, really. You’ve produced this newborn-story, cradle it, and like any beautiful infant – you want to show it to the world. So proud! You want to spread it across Facebook, blog about it, send out announcements, and invite everyone to come and bring you lots of great presents. :-s
But you have to wait. You have to do a second draft; to catch plot holes and character flaws. Suddenly, your creation isn’t perfect, and you have to tweak and alter and edit. But then you’re done!
But really, you’re not.
You have to print off the 300 or so pages and see how it looks on paper, not just a computer screen. You have to read it, and read it again, then read it out loud and see how it sounds in the room. You have to rake through it, like flickin’ tics off a monkey, looking to pick it clean. But then you’re done!
But really, you’re not.
Then you have to print off copies for your “readers”. The chosen ones hold this little bundle, and you want to give them a list of rules. You want to be sure they understand that she’s precious, but new; so she might not be perfect. You want to plead just a little, not to judge you too harshly.
Except you need to know where the flaws are. And you need to know what works, and what the reader connects to, and what needs more tweaking. And let’s not forget, I’m a new novel-mom, so anything you say will offend and wound me, because this is my baby, after all. Then you take all that constructive criticism and consider it. Change what you need to, keep what you want to. Spit and polish and edit, oh my!
But then, you’re done!
But really, you’re not. Then, you have an experienced editor review and critique it, and make those edits too. But then, you’re done!
But really, you’re not. You’re actually just at the beginning. Now you travel the bumpy road of agent searches and publisher queries. You better be sure to buckle in, because the pot holes of rejection may be plentiful, and they leave a nasty mark.
And so, you wait. You wait days, and weeks, and months for responses, for the words to come that ring like a symphony. “Request Full Manuscript”.
But until then, you wait.
Patience is a virtue.