I’m the first to admit that I’m not a very patient person. I find it hard to stand in lines and if I have to wait for someone for a long time, I start fidgeting. Luckily, I usually have a book along with me wherever I go and I’m prone to writing notes on scraps of paper to occupy myself.
Just recently, my dharma teacher suggested cultivating a greater awareness of impatience when it hits; this has been a real eye-opener. It’s made me realize that I can be very impatient with myself when it comes to my writing.
Working through my revisions in my YA novel has been going slowly — very slowly. I can’t explain why, but one chapter has been especially tough to rewrite. I’ve been going back over several different versions of it and trying to pull the best phrases and passages from each one and blend them together. This is a very time-consuming process — and I’ve been frustrated and impatient with my progress — or lack of it.
But like most negative emotions, this angsty attitude toward myself and whether I’m working fast enough isn’t helping me — it’s slowing me down even more. What’s the solution? I’m not sure, but I’ve decided to make it a point to be grateful to myself for continuing to push on and for not giving up.
I’ve also decided to take the word “Patience” as a kind of mantra and to contemplate its various meanings as they apply to the discipline of writing. “Calm and uncomplaining endurance,” “patient willingness to wait,” “quiet perseverance (as to labor with patience)” — these are some definitions offered by my beloved Century Dictionary.
Perseverance, uncomplaining endurance, a willingness to wait — these all sound like valuable tools for my writer’s kit-bag. I’m going work on taking them with me everywhere I go. Write on.