P is for Patience

PPatience is a virtue. It is NOT one of mine though. If I get excited about something, I want to do it straightaway. I want to get results and see the whole thing through.

Some things don’t work like that. For example, writing a book. Even if I tried to write it all up in one big go (and some people do write books in six weeks, such as William Faulkner), I am not one of them. I still need to process some stuff that comes up in my writing.

Slowly, I am learning the benefits of being patient. Leaving my manuscript alone for six months was like letting good wine to mature. When I revisited my manuscript three weeks ago, editing was much easier as I saw the material with fresh eyes and ruthlessly cut out 50,000 words and added another 10,000 words, leaving it at 80,000 words, which is a more conventional length for a manuscript.

Old habits die hard though. I have recently sent a query letter to an agent and I am noticing impatience rising to the surface. Underneath this impatience is my nemesis: attachment to the outcome. I want the agent to come back and say how wonderful it is. Or not. But at least I’ll regain some sense of control over the situation.

Viewed from this angle, patience is so much more than “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” It’s an ability to let go of the attachment to a particular outcome. It’s trusting that whatever happens will be for the higher good, even if it’s a rejection. It’s releasing control over a situation. Paradoxically, when we are patient in this way, we get results much quicker because we are not blocking energetically the desired outcome.

Patience is a virtue, indeed.

6 thoughts on “P is for Patience

  1. I struggle with patience as well. Wiring helps nurture it in me because you’re right-letting a piece sit for a while and then going back to it makes all the difference in the world. I used to expect to sit down and write an essay start to finish without needing to edit but I’ve slowed down and am realizing the value in working on something over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still strive to write in one big whoosh (children permitting) the only thing that changed is appreciation of how many rounds of editing and re-writing may be involved. Thank you for reading and commenting – much appreciated!

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    • How wonderful, Patricia – abundance of ideas is exactly what we need to cultivate patience. I find I get impatient when I am attached to a specific outcome with one project. If I have several on the go, I am less concerned with the outcome
      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Much appreciated!

      Like

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