“Accept the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. A.A. Milne
Patience – it’s one of those traits that’s often undervalued and yet it’s a quiet strength that many of us probably wish we had more of. I know I do! As sheltering at home lingers on and days grow longer, staying inside and isolated takes more endurance, more patience. And changing what needs to be changed in the larger world will also demand it.
And the same is true, to my mind, when it comes to writing. Patience required! So let’s unpack this quality a bit. My handy Century Dictionary offers some help. It defines it as “calm and uncomplaining endurance;” “quiet perseverance;” “forbearance, or tolerance;” “patient willingness to wait.” How can any or all of these support our writing?
Calm and uncomplaining endurance – Sometimes getting where we want to go in our writing life is all about staying calm and enduring what comes our way. Staying the course we’ve set for ourselves despite confusion, frustration, and rejection. Coming to the page day after day, when we don’t seem to be making progress. And doing it all without complaining – remembering that having the time and space to write is a precious gift.
Quiet perseverance – Surely there’s no greater asset in the writing game than perseverance – the drive and willingness to push forward in spite of whatever pitfalls we face or circumstances life throws our way. “Don’t quit, can’t fail” is one way to capture this vital quality. With it, we can overcome anything; without it, we’re likely to fold our tents too soon when we hit resistance.
Tolerance – Our ability to absorb and accept the problems and we face isn’t something we pay much attention to most of the time. Yet our tolerance level – how much we are willing and able to handle when we hit rough patches has a lot to do with our success.
Willingness to wait – We live in a world of instant access to information and quick fixes. Everything around us seems to shout “get it now,” “you need this,” “this will make your life better right away.” Resisting all this “nowness” and remembering that you can rush creativity can be hard. Waiting is never easy. And yet, sometimes that’s exactly what’s called for in our writing. We need to wait for ideas to ripen, for a new plot line to develop, for a better way to express something, or for a new character to emerge.
“Accept the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Powerful wisdom to apply as we all write on.
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