Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Patience--Is It One of Your Virtues?

Many times I try to encourage newbies in the writing world using two keywords--patience and perseverance. I think I could write a book for new writers that included only those two chapters, maybe only those two little words! That's how important I feel they are.

Today, let's look at patience. It isn't only writers who need this quality. A whole lot of folks in other walks of life could use a healthy dose. One of the big problems with a dose of patience is that it runs out and we have to swallow another patience pill. If only there was such a medication!

Seasoned writers learn that patience pays off. I've often joked to friends that I think God pushed me into the writing field in order to teach me to be a more patient person. It's true--I am and always have been a most impatient person. When I want something, I want it now! Bad trait, believe me, as it leads to major frustration. As I've aged, I've mellowed a bit and am definitely more willing to wait for things than in my younger years.

Sending a story to an editor is a very satisfying feeling. A project you've worked on, maybe for weeks, is finally polished enough to meet the eyes of she who will say Yea or Nay. But then you have to wait to hear from the editor. Some submission guidelines state the response time, and I find that most helpful. If they say six to eight weeks but ten weeks have elapsed, then I can be fairly certain that they did not want the story. In that case, I send it to another editor. There are many who say they have too many submissions to notify those they reject. Understandable on their end, a lot harder for the writer to swallow. I greatly appreciate those editors who do send rejection notices. We don't have to hearing a negative, but it lets us know where we stand and that it's time to move on.

Each of the above scenarios requires patience on the writer's part. So how do you get it? It's a mind-set, I think. You need to make up your mind that you are going to have a long wait before you hear from an editor, if at all. The longer you're in the writing world, the more practice you get in being patient.

While you wait weeks or months to hear from an anthology group or a magazine editor, get busy on a new project. Pushing the other in the background and working on a current story is the best antidote for the Impatience Syndrome.

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