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.
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.