Writing is a process. A process that takes effort, focus, perseverance and a whole lot of time. More time than a beginning writer can appreciate on the front-end. That’s because it takes time to learn how to write, time for your writing to gain attention and an audience, and time to turn a dream into a writing career.
Time is a limited commodity, more precious it seems with each passing day. Effective writers understand the importance time plays in their writing process and dedicate the time necessary to grow as a writer and fully develop characters, plot, narrative structure, setting and everything else required of a quality piece of work.
Despite our impatience to see our writing improve faster, gain recognition, and in print, giving yourself permission to take your time is one of the most beneficial things you can do to develop as a writer. In addition, understanding the best use of time is another critical part of developing your process.
Focus on What Matters
“Don't be 'a writer.' Be writing.” - William Faulkner
In our technical world, writers are inundated by an overwhelming mountain of information and advice that is not always conducive to developing craft. This advice includes:
- Build an audience before completing your book
- Publish a book every six months
- Build social media presence
None of these activities aide in the most fundamental activity of all: writing a well-crafted book. To do this, the writer must write – period. The more you write, the more you develop as a writer, the stronger your story becomes and the more likely you are to achieve publishing success.
But all this writing takes patience – something that’s increasingly harder to put into practice in today’s world of instant gratification. This patience applies to many facets of the writer’s life:
- Improving writing skills
- Story development
- Editing and rework
Practicing the Art of Patience
And while patience might not come easy, it can be become habit through application. The more you practice being patient, the more it becomes second nature. But patience takes strength, character and a fair bit of resilience to get through the trying times. And there are trying times: waiting for feedback or submission response, rejection, writer’s block and any number of other distractions.
Remember, writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Something to remember when advice comes your way to publish a book every six months, or if you are feeling pressured to submit a manuscript before it is ready.
The Virtue of Patience
The benefits of incorporating patience into your writing process only serve to make you a better writer. Benefits include:
- Increased productivity: by removing the stress of unrealistic times frames and expectation, you are free to focus entirely on “writing” rather than “being a writer.”
- Improved focus and quality: allowing yourself the time to fully explore and develop your story makes for a stronger finished product and a stronger writer
- Enhanced confidence: the more time you give yourself to write and improve your skills, the more confident you will be in yourself as a writer. This confidence is necessary to keep steamrolling ahead even in the face of rejection.
- Reduced stress: setting unrealistic deadlines and goals in any endeavor is a sure fire way to increase creativity-killing stress. Give yourself space and time needed to boost creativity, not diminish it.
Remember, the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. The same is true for writing. If your goal is getting your book published and building a successful writing career, then time and effort are required to meet these goals.
There are no short-cuts in writing. Only dedication to craft and perseverance – both of which require patience.