The Fine Art of Conquering Impatience

Recently my blogging chum Shannon O’Donnell posted about how important certain virtues are for people on the writing path. We must have the courage to write and put ourselves out there, we must find the fortitude needed to persevere. The one virtue she mentioned struggling with is having enough patience to stave off discouragement, depression, frustration and doubt.

Patience. Boy, that is a tough one some days, isn’t it? I bet you can all relate to Shannon. I know I can.

Writing is a long journey. Most of you are probably involved in writing sites, forums, critique groups and the like, connecting with others on the writing path. You read blogs, encourage others, keep tabs on those striving just as you are. This is what it means to be a community. But there can be a dark side to belonging to this community, something that can cause us to have a crisis of faith: staying patient and upbeat when other succeed where we have not (yet).

Don’t get me wrong, we cheer for every sale and piece of good news that comes to our writer friends! But, sometimes a sliver inside us feels something else: Frustration. Envy. Worry. Doubt. These emotions lead to a plague of questions: Why haven’t I succeeded? Why isn’t it my turn for good news? Why can’t this be me? Am I kidding myself for even trying?

It’s very easy to let these negative questions send us on a downward spiral, sucking away our energy, our creativity and our strength to continue. Like Shannon mentioned in her post, it is impatience that leads us down this dark road.

So how do we fight it? How do we build up our resistance and stay upbeat?

I find for me, the best way to conquer impatience is to take it out of the equation. Once my book is in an editor’s hands, is there anything I can do writing-wise to make them say yes? No, there isn’t. Can I make them read faster, get back to me faster? No. So, why stress and get all impatient about it? These are things I have no control over.

Instead, I put my energy into what I CAN do:

I can make myself attractive to an editor who may look me up online. So, I put time and energy into my online presence and platform.  

I can continue to write & polish in case they want to see something else from me. I let go of the book that’s on submission and turn to the next project.

I can continue to learn, which will help me make sure a cleaner product reaches their desk. None of us know everything–we can always improve. Learning is growing.

These are the things within my control, so I do them. 🙂

Here’s one solid fact, no matter where you’re at on the publishing trail: if you keep moving forward, you’ll get there. I believe this. I live it. So, the next time impatience & negativity clouds your head space, TAKE CONTROL. Fight by putting your energy into things that will lead to your success!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in About Us, Focus, Platform, Rejection, Time Management, Writer's Attitude. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to The Fine Art of Conquering Impatience

  1. Fantastic advice! I’m horribly impatient. HORRIBLY. Could be one my most extreme flaws, as in I don’t do it half way. At all. So I get all busy with something else, dogging that thing to death, and forget that I’m impatient for the other thing to happen. 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    It’s brilliant to focus on what you can control and let go of what you can. I love that! That’s an excellent attitide to have. But then, I knew you were wise. 😉

  3. I’ve never been a patient person, but when I got serious about my writing in 2006 I told myself I had 20 years to develop a solid writing career. That forced me to be patient.

    Nothing needs to happen NOW but there are a lot of things that I can do now to help things happen later.

    I don’t over-visualize my future either. It’s there waiting for me. I just need to stay focused on the moment and keep writing and improving.

    It’ll come when it comes. I have no doubt of that.

  4. Kerri Cuev says:

    Great post! Keep moving forward–I LIKE it!

  5. Excellent post! And I so needed it today (and lots of other days too).

  6. LOVE this post! We’re so into writing that we want to get it out there, now, all very frustrating when it’s not, even worse, rejected. Writing is not for the faint of heart.

  7. Heather says:

    “Keep moving forward and put your energy into what you can do,” Thank you for that golden advice! Words to live by!

  8. Love this honest and uplifting post! So true! I don’t think the impatience every goes away. It just takes on different forms at different times. Wonderful words of wisdom here. Thank you!!!

  9. What a great resource you’ve created. I feel like I finally began my journey as a writer this year after feeling impatient about it literally for years. I’m taking steps I should have taken a long time ago. Your post here describes exactly what I’m going through. Thanks for your list of “I cans.”
    It Just Got Interesting

  10. Good post. I have trouble mostly with the patience neede to get work done. I don’t have ADD, but sometimes I feel like I do, given how often I switch from one project to the other. But I’ve also heard it said that sometime’s it’s good to have more than one project going, so if you get bored on the one, go to something better, and come back when you feel ready to keep working on the first one. Make of that what you will.

  11. My impatience monster gets a hold of me all the time. It’s a constant battle, but I tell myself to back off and slow down. You have to do the work before you can get the results. The journey is half the adventure… so I’m to believe.

  12. Good post, Angela. I try to remind myself that takes just as long to hear back whether you are patient or impatient.

  13. Pk Hrezo says:

    I really needed to read this today. i was feeling exactly the way you mentioned. And it is impatience. I have to remind myself, no matter how hard I work, It’s just not my time.

    Thanks for posting this.

  14. This is such an important point. It can’t be said enough. And we all have moments of weakness when we start to slip… but then when we remind ourselves of WHY we’re doing it in the first place and how we can continue to work we recover and stay on track.

  15. Lizzie, Janet and Charlie, you guys have the right attitude!

    Shauna, absolutely this can be applied to all aspects and goals. Hugs!

    Traci, that’s absolutely an excellent point–everyone who succeeds works very hard to do so. I know very few people in this likfe that have things handed to them with no effort.

    KLM, yes, procrastination can be a mortal enemy can’t it?

    Jac, this is so true. As writers we do feel pulled in different direction, and this is when doubt can set in. It helps to remember why we started this journey in the first place–each and every one of us started because we believed we could do it. We should never lose sight of that. 🙂

    Shallee, exactly!

    Susan, I think it’s something so many struggle with, but few want to talk about because it makes us feel bad, like we’re not nice people. This isn’t true at all! Doubt and envy are powerful, and it helps to talk about it as we all feel them at some point.

    Shannon, I am trying to get my hands on Save The Cat! I so want to read it!

    Kelly, that’s great! Improving on what we know about writing is one of the smartest things we can do. Always learn, always improve.

    Thanks Kathryn!

    Becca, how many times have you been there for me to pump me up when I’m down? LOL, guess where I learned this from?

    Me, absolutely you keep going. Don’t give up. I know so many great writers who gave up, and it steals a piece of me every time, because I know good writing, and they had the talent to succeed. You believed in yourself enough to start, now keep believing it! You can do it!

    Kelly, I think it’s because there is so much about this industry we can’t control–so many things that keep the glass ceiling in place. It’s easy to fixate on it, but what we really need to do is let go of it all and concentrate on breaking through the glass using the tools we have.

    Leslie, I’m glad the past made you stronger. Everyone should chase their dreams and only change focus when they themselves feel it’s time and they can do it without regret.

    Marion, you got it!

    Carrie, thanks for commenting!

    Stina, you are one of the most put together and focused writers I know. You have drive and determination, and when you know there’s an area you need to work on, you don’t hesitate to act. You are the embodiment of hard work and taking control!

    Again everyone, thanks for the great comments. I really do believe this is something that we should be able to discuss without judgment. We’re all in the same boat, all headed for the same desitnation, and there will be storms on the way. Sharing your experiences is such a help to me and my journey.


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