Patience: The Most Frustrating Virtue.

Patience is by far the most frustrating virtue.

OK, maybe that’s unfair. Having patience isn’t frustrating, needing to be patient when you’re all out is the challenge. Unfortunately, vast quantities of patience is required to be a novelist – whether you’re self-publishing or using a publishing house.

First, you have to write the novel. This can take anywhere from 1-3 months (if you’re working on it full time) to several years (if you have less time and/or are inconsistent about working on it). I wrote the first draft of my first novel in a little over 1 year. I then took almost another year to “edit it.”

Unfortunately for me, what I was really doing was little more than copy editing – cleaning up grammar, fixing typos and the like. I then tried to shop it around and stalled for another year, left it alone, tried a deeper edit, got about 1/5th of the way done, got distracted, and here I am: almost four years after I finished the first draft, re-writing long sections before I feel comfortable handing it off to an editor so we can take it through yet another draft together…ugh.

Why This is a Problem

Beyond the obvious point that re-working the same piece over and over again is painfully fatiguing, it’s also hard to feel like a writer – or to say that I’m “committing to life as a writer” – when none of my work is actually available for people to read.

I know, I know – I’ve done my research. One of the biggest mistakes indie authors make is not building a promotional platform before releasing their books, which means that I’m actually doing things the right way by creating a twitter and a blog before actually releasing my work…

I know that and I know making my work as good as it can possibly be (by having it professionally edited and hiring a brilliant cover artist) will help me in the long run. It will make the personal brand I’m building more creditable, increase my sales, and all sorts of good things…it’s just incredibly difficult, after four years of being asked “When can I read your book,” to have to say: not yet.

Learning to be OK with Process

As I commit to life as a writer I am also looking for supplemental sources of income, one of which will be teaching yoga (once I finish the instructor’s course in April). One of the core tenants of yoga is being OK with where you are and enjoying the process. As they say, “you come to the mat with a different body everyday.”

While I don’t come to the computer with a different book every day, my attitude toward it and my life as a writer is always different. Right now I am frustrated by the need to be patient – tomorrow I may be satisfied that I’m doing the best that I can.

It’s a process.

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