Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Problem with Patience

Happy September! Can you believe it's September already??? Remember how as a child, the school year would take forever to end, or Christmas would never get here?? Now, as a thirty-something parent, time flies so fast, it seems months are gone in the blink of an eye.... and I'm still trying to get things done from last month's agenda.

Whew! Let me stop and take a breather.

You ever wonder why we feel so compelled to rush around all the time? I think it's an American thing. We try to cram as much as we can into a single day so we can finish and have a few precious minutes of personal time..... maybe to watch some TV, or read, or if you're like me, write.

I haven't written all summer. But that's okay, because I've had a full plate and I just finished a story in April so I won't be too hard on myself. But I digress ...

ahem ...

The problem with patience is that I don't have enough of it. I've never been patient with anything. Major character flaw here. But I have learned some patience, and if nothing else, parenthood has taught me how to be more patient. Have you ever heard that saying, "Don't pray for patience because you'll get it." Meaning, we'll find ourselves in situations where our patience is tested and those situations pretty much suck..... but you'll learn patience from it.

Yeah whatever. Learn, shmern.

I hate being patient.

Yet, without it, life is too frustrating. Crafting a story takes patience... and all too soon I want to send it off for feedback, when what it needs is weeks to simmer. Raising children takes oodles of patience. Waiting at the doctor's office takes patience. Being stuck in traffic? Patience. Waiting to close on a new home because the lender has to scrutinize every little financial detail of your life?  EXTRA patience. And yes, waiting to hear back from the agents who have your full manuscript also takes patience.

So what do we do during all this?
*We read everything we can on craft, parenting, etc.
*We blog to support each other and remind each other to be patient
*We take advantage of excessive waiting room times by catching up with emails or jotting story ideas
*We  use drive time to listen to books on CD or red lights to catch up on a friend's blog post via email
*We makes lists of everything we're going to do to our new home if and when the final closing day comes (which in my case, it has, and I'm the brand new owner of a beautiful two-story pool home! YAY!) we go shopping!
*We move on to the next project, because waiting to hear back on our fulls and partials that are under review is agonizing. But I've learned to start the next story, because there's always hope the new one will be THE one.



I wonder if there ever comes a day when a person has truly grasped patience. Unless you're a monk in Tibet, I can't see how it's possible in today's environment. We're like monsters running out of time and scrambling to get more of it by rushing around. No time to wait! Hurry hurry hurry! Gosh, it's maddening.

Couple of links I'd like to share that have nothing to do with patience but are worth having a peek at:

Alex J Cavanaugh has an excellent opportunity for an insecure writer's support group, geniusly called Insecure Writer's Support Group. Sign up and join the blog hop for insecure writers who need fellow writers to lean on. Hey, we all do sometimes. Plus, Alex is like one of the nicest bloggers around and if you don't already know him, you're gonna want to.

Also, just read this Writer's Digest post on character development and it full on rocks the house and gets your brain cranking.

So tell me, how do you learn patience? Do you, like me, try to make use of every last minute in the day? Any tricks on being patient that  you'd like to share? Lay it on me ...

45 comments:

Melissa Hurst said...

I'm still trying to figure that one out. I have 3 kids and they try my patience every day.:)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I loved your "Do quit" poster. very apt in these days.


Take care.
Yvonne.

Old Kitty said...

It helps when I am surrounded by people more patient than me! :-)

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, if parenting doesn't teach you some patience, nothing will!
I've learned to be patient every place except behind the wheel. Yeah, you don't want to be that slow car in front of me...

Elle Strauss said...

No, I Can't Believe it's September. I'm like you, time is zipping by! I read that WD article earlier, definitely a must read for writers.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, PK, impatience is one of my main character flaws.I'm 62 and still working on it.
Karen

Richard said...

Patience is something self-starters have to learn. And if writers aren't self-starters, how will we ever get anything done? Patience is a two-edged sword, it hurts and it heals (how's that for a bit of philosophy?). As badly as I want to write, I always take Sundays off. I suppose there's some religious influence there. But I also think there's a good reason for taking one day a week off from our work: it teaches us patience and it reminds us that work isn't everything. And it gives us time for other things that matter, like our families, as well as others. I suppose some people enjoy it for the religious reasons. Either way, it's good for us to take a day off.

Stephen Tremp said...

I look at the motivation. I have to be motivated by love and never anger, although this is much easier said than done LOL! Occassionally, I do have to have the kids pick out a toy for giveaway. That's punishment in a good way as after the fact they have a good feeling about it. And they clean their rooms.

J. A. Bennett said...

I am not the person to ask, patience is hard for me too. I just want to have my book in my hands NOW! Deep breaths, I guess that's my only advice :)

Laila Knight said...

Wait, parenting is supposed to teach you patience? Where did I go wrong? Hmm, I'm not trying to pull out my hair anymore. I love your funnies. :) And the insecure writers group is awesome. I'm only sorry I'm going to miss the launching. You guys were so supportive on my Friday post. Have a good day.

Angela Ackerman said...

I think patience is something we will always grapple with. What helps me is realizing that certain things are just out of my hands. It helps me focus better on the things I do have control over. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Cynthia Lee said...

I'm ADHD and impatient as hell. A few years ago, I started doing yoga and pilates and that has really helped.

The stretchy bendiness and deep breathing helps me with patience and irritability.

Brianna said...

I struggle to find patience, but prayer does help, as does running :)

Michael Offutt said...

My advice with regard to people who need patience is to 1) Visit Los Angeles and 2) get in line for Space Mountain. These two things will teach you patience. If you do not have patience, you will lose your mind.

LTM said...

omg! I'm the most impatient person I know. But you're so right--both about the whole real estate thing (just did that, too! argh) to the whole character development thing. I'm learning... :p

And running to check out that link! thanks~ :o)

meredithmansfield said...

Hi, fellow campaigner.

I'm not big on patience, either. Fortunately, you don't need patience if you're enjoying yourself. Also fortunately, I usually enjoy the process of writing. There are exceptions.

For example, I've notably been slacking yesterday and today.

McKenzie McCann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McKenzie McCann said...

One of my favorite quotes:

"God gave me patience, AND I WANT IT NOW!"

Alleged Author said...

I am not patient, but I hope someday I will be a patient person!

Carla White said...

It must be a North American thing since over here in Canada I do the same thing with my days and usually there ends up being so much that I don't get to the personal time part. I hate being patients too and even though I don't have kids yet, I've still somehow learned to be more patient - maybe I'm growing up, maybe I've just realized that I can't change how long some things take so I may as well make the best of it, either way, I definitely use some of your suggestions and listen to audio books on my long commute and send emails in waiting rooms, it makes the time go faster and thus, keeps my anger at bay. ;)

Congrats on the new home and have fun shopping... I love shopping for home stuff!

Laura said...

How is it september?!?! I've never been patient, but I've learned it at work - women need simmering time before deciding on dresses! Funnily enough, writing has taught me some patients too... that it takes time to build up the amount of words you need for that first draft... but there's no way I could be a parent!!!
Off to check out your digest link
Lxxx

Cally Jackson said...

It's not just an American thing as we are the same here in Australia. Maybe it's a Western world thing. Right now I am waiting for a train that's ten minutes late - patience in action! :-)

cleemckenzie said...

Patience--oh to have some. THe only thing I do is to get outside and hike or do some Yoga breathing. Without those outlets, I'd drive my family and myself crazy.

Glad to see you're on the Campaign.

Susan Oloier said...

I hear you about not writing over the summer. That was me. But I thoroughly enjoyed my kids, so I honestly don't care.
Believe it or not, I think I am the most patient person I know. I've had a full out to a publisher since May, and when I hear I hear. Don't get me wrong, I have the long to-do list and try to get a lot done in a day, but my younger son (diagnosed with Trisomy 18) has taught me to live moment to moment--which, I guess, lends itself to having patience.

fOIS In The City said...

Even on my blog break I could not resist. The answer is a resounding NO!

Never had any, never gonna get any, stopped waiting for the magic moment I'd "feel" it.

You're still young and there's hope so don't give up :) Good luck with the fulls and partials.

JesiMarie said...

I am horrible at being patient. When I do something, I want all the steps to go by quickly. Finish the manuscript, edit now now now, send off to agents. In like, a month. Or get a job, move into an apartment before sure the job is going to last longer than 5 months.

Personally, I try to find something else to put my mind to. Or like you mentioned about the house (congrats on that, btw), plan what I want my apartment to look like.

And lastly, hello! I'm Jesi and I'm in your MG/YA group in the Campaign!

alexia said...

Um, from your description we could be twins, so I'm afraid I can't help :) It's definitely an American thing. And a female thing, I think. We like to take on the world... I sometimes have to remind myself that I can actually just do nothing for a few minutes... but that never lasts long.

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, PK. You nailed it on the head with me. I rush around all day and for what? I'll be doing the same thing tomorrow and for what? There's precious little time to enjoy life. Right?
So, rather than bore everyone with the mundane details, I think I'll just wish you and yours a great loooonnngg weekend and try and stop for a while.

Yeah, right!

;)

-Jimmy

DM said...

You know, I'm patient with my writing, editing, revising. I'm just not patient with anything else.

salarsenッ said...

Great advice, PK! So true. Time does fly faster the older we get. Even more important to make every moment count! :) It's great to be back blogging. I returned this week. Missed you.

Donna Hole said...

You should see me at the day job waiting for the computer to change pages - I'm like Alex behind the slow car :)

And when I send out a query, I swear 15 seconds later I'm checking my e-mails to see if there is a response. Grrr . .

.....dhole

Cherie Colyer said...

Being a mother, a writer, and holding down a full-time job has helped me to learn some patience. Not that I'm an expert at it or anything. I do find keeping busy with other projects helps when I'm waiting to hear back from agents.

I wanted to stop by and say hi! I'm part of the campaign too.

Carol Riggs said...
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Carol Riggs said...

Great post on patience. It IS difficult. Mostly, I try to stay busy while waiting for agents or editors or whomever--do other projects, or start another novel. Keeps me distracted for a while. :

Brenda Sills said...

I love your DON'T QUIT- DO IT saying! I'm so glad to meet you! We're fellow campaigners in the MG/YA group!

T C Mckee said...

I drove a tractor trailer for thirteen years before opening up my own business. Once you get the concept that some things are just out of your control, its easy. There is no controlling traffic or other people for the most part. So, you monopolize on the time which it sounds like you're doing. Congrats on the House. Happy dance! I'm gonna have some wine to celebrate.

Jill Campbell said...

Great post. When I am impatient, I'm acting like my needs and my time are more important than everyone else's. That thought works when my life is calm. When things aren't, well, you know, my time and my life are more important. jk

J.L. Campbell said...

PK, you've discussed so much here that applies to me. I never seem to have a moment to relax and there's always some writing job I feel guilty over because it isn't getting done. Then there's the fact that I keep adding stuff to the to do list. And everything above doesn't include the daily things that crop up. Patience is not a virtue I ever developed, but I do need to learn.

Thanks for the links!

Milo James Fowler said...

Moving on to the next project is definitely key, and it's great at taking the sting out of rejections. We're too busy to notice!

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, the publishing world is all about Hurry up and Wait! I got a laugh out of the name Insecure Writers' Group. I think that would number in the millions, really! Happy Labor Day.

KarenG said...

I went through and read all the comments to this post, because it made me feel so much better about my lack of patience to know that it's a common trait and not just me being over the top. (something my family often accuses me of, like I'm the only one in the world who's impatient)

Leslie Rose said...

I crave instant gratification, so practicing patience is an ongoing hurdle for me. I think when we decide to go on a diet, we should immediately dump the pounds and then eat correctly to keep it off. How motivating would that be!

Nas Dean said...

Hi PK,

Reading the post itself and the comments made me realize for the first time that I'm not alone!

Nas Dean said...

Hi PK,

Reading the post itself and the comments made me realize for the first time that I'm not alone!

Jeremy Bates said...

popping over from karen's bbq... hope im not too late! brought some JD and steak! great blog--following!