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Friday, February 1, 2013

Have a Little Patience

.......by Olivia Kelly

"Have Patience. All things are difficult before they become easy." ~ Saadi

Mmmkay. Easy for him to say. Me? I'm not so great at the waiting game. And lately, it seems I've been doing a lot of that. 

Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking "Look at this baby writer, barely out of her training pants and jumping around, waving her arms for attention." But seriously. I suck at waiting. I wanted to know right away what gender kid I was having when I got pregnant, I always burn my mouth trying to drink my too-hot coffee and I'm dying here, waiting for responses from the agents and editors I sent my manuscript to.

No. I am not being dramatic. 

If you are a writer who's published, you've been here, and survived. I take this as a good sign. If you're a writer and you currently are in the same boat as me? Here's a paddle. Try not to row us in circles, and you better have brought rum. Even if you aren't a writer, I know you can relate to this post. When has anyone ever not hopped around, flailing like a Muppet, muttering "Oh, for the love of cheese and sprinkles, C'MON. HURRY UP."? Yeah, I know you get me.

I knew that just sitting around waiting was going to send me that last little step over the Cliffs of Insanity, so I came up with a plan. Or rather, A Plan. It went something like this:

Step 1) Start writing another book.
Step 2) Make time to read, since I haven't done that as much as I've wanted to lately.
Step 3) Get a full rough draft down by the time I start getting responses from agents. (It has no bearing, really, I just wanted a time frame that would push me.)
Step 4) Meal plan my weeks and make food to have in fridge, so everything would run seamlessly and smooth at dinnertime. 
Step 5) Update my website.

Good plan, right? All the things I've neglected to do over the last few months while trying to whip my manuscript into good enough shape to send out into the world. Except....it hasn't quite gone as I thought it would. Exactly. It's been more like this:

Step 1) Write
Step2) Check Twitter
Step 3) Check Email
Step 4) NO. WRITE.
Step 5) Check Facebook
Step 6) Check Goodreads
Step 7) Check Email
Step 9) Ooo. Words with Friends!

So, I'm not quite where I want to be but I've been pretty distracted. I guess. I only check my email about 4 or 5 times an hour. That's totally normal, right? *Sigh*

"I'm extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." ~ Margaret Thatcher  (I like her.)

What do you recommend for distraction? Any tips on being patient? 


  1. Olivia ~ LOL! You know, depending on who you talk to, I either have the patience of Job (The Scientist will tell you this, so also will my clients at work) or the patience of gnat who can't sit still (My siblings would say this and so would anyone I happen to be annoyed with. In fact, Catherine Gayle saw me go from 0 to 100 in the matter of a few seconds when Royal Caribbean was difficult about correcting my bill last week. I think I just don't have patience for stupidity.)

    As far as writing goes... Back in the days when I sent out queries, I had to completely put them out of my mind or I'd go crazy. When I sent something out, I'd think "It'll be 6 months before I hear anything." And I decided that I needed to have something else done. When I did hear from them, what if they wanted more and I didn't have anything? That's a whole new brand of stress. So, writing is the best thing to do, if you can focus. Besides, spending time with characters I love is better than my nerves eating my insides out. (I am, after all, in control of my characters.)

  2. OMG, Olivia, waiting is the hardest part! And it doesn't go away when you make your first sale. Seems like we are always waiting on something!

    You've hit on your answer--keep writing!

  3. I'm no good at waiting either, but distracting myself with another project usually works for me.

    I agree with Ava and Deb. Keep writing. In this business, it's always 'hurry up and wait'. Your publisher always needs something yesterday, but time slows to a crawl when you're waiting for them to get back to you - i.e. Is my check being delivered by a slow boat from China??? ;)

  4. I will suggest to you my tried and true method that I don't employ often enough: turn on Freedom. Seriously, it only costs $10 for the software, and I wish I used it more than I do. You tell it how long you need to wait before getting on the internet again (ten minutes, two hours, whatever), and then it doesn't let you on to check your email, etc. Granted, you've still got your phone too, so you'll have to exercise some restraint. But it has been wonderful any time I've used it.

  5. And truly try to put it from your mind. I was actually successful at this.

    A few years ago (it happened to be an election year and I live in a battleground state) I had entered some contests. I completely put them from my mind. Anyway, I was at dinner and my phone rang. It wasn't a number/area code I knew, and I was fairly certain it was another pollster calling. I answered the phone more rudely than I would normally and then had to fall over myself apologizing to the girl who called to tell me I'd finalled.

    I'm still embarassed. ;)

  6. Patience....it's that thing I had a smidgen of before my kids were born.

    I dislike greatly waiting for response to query's. Of course, I also don't like having to wait to work on writing projects. But where I used to have the time to work on a project in the morning and a project in the afternoon...I must now reduce myself to focusing on 1 project. I can't work on anything but that one project...unless I get stuck like I currently am and will work on 'just-for-kicks' project until I can focus on this scene that needs rewritten.

    Stress really kills your creativity at the worst moments. But I can say that patience is easier to deal with than having the will power not to eat bread, chocolate, or ice cream. Maybe because being patient is less about things you can control and more about waiting on others.

  7. Awesome advice, ladies. I'm hearing a lot of "Just write!", lol...

  8. That's the thing. Write. Write. Write.
    It's a skill you're going to have to learn for this business.
    Once you get replies from the agent quiries, it starts all over.
    I just got a reply, via my agent, from a ms sent out over a year ago.
    A year!!!

  9. I admit to being the absolute worst at being impatient. I think the time I get really squirrely is when I have my annual mammogram. As a breast cancer survivor, I am nervous, anxious and grouchy until I get the results which usually takes around five days. It's coming up in a few weeks. Look for me to be snarky. I'll try to keep it at a minimum. :-)

    I can totally sympathize with you! I want immediate feedback!

  10. I have no patience at all, well, sometimes. Honestly, it depends on what needs that virtue, lol.

    Great post Olivia, and thanks for the list of things I can do while praying for patience!


  11. Patience...I think I've heard this...What does it mean again?

  12. Great post, Olivia! I can totally relate...I too am the baby writer playing the waiting game for all those great things to finally happen. I'm such a control freak and yet ironically the things I've chosen in my life are all elements beyond my control. I used to perform. Now write. Even teaching, my days are not predictable. I rest easier knowing that my days of write. No write. Email. Twitter. Facebook. Write. Repeat. Looks a lot like your days! ; )

  13. *coughs* check youtube......check the local weather...check the "freebies" on Amazon.....oh and I have farmville lol...I can find distractions easily