I once bought a greeting card I still own because it fits me to a tee. This is what it says:
Lord grant me patience...
And hurry up!
That’s me— impatient and wishing I weren’t, but unable to change. Naturally, I chose to be a novelist, a career that requires infinite patience! But oddly enough, it suits me well. Lately I’ve been mulling this over. How can someone who wants everything yesterday be not only content, but passionately happy as a writer? I have come to realize that I am not impatient about all things. I can wait for and work steadily toward those things that really matter to me. (I’m not talking health stuff here. When someone I love needs immediate medical attention, I get pushy and very impatient. Grrr.)
But writing? For that I am willing, even eager, to roll up my sleeves, plant my behind in the chair, and do what it takes, often spending months to flesh out a story. That said, I wouldn’t be honest unless I admitted that impatience usually does strike within the first three chapters, when I am unsure of my characters and the direction of the story. (The synopsis can help, but not always). Then I yearn to jump to where I think my characters ought to be. But my books are character-driven, so skipping ahead doesn’t work. For a few days and sometimes up to a full week, I find myself unable to move forward at all. That’s when I mentally stamp my foot (the perfect picture of impatience), pull out my hair and bemoan my lack of progress. During this unpleasant time my family tiptoes around me, but we’ve been through this before, and they know the bad mood will pass. Sometime during this “dark” period I remind myself to take baby steps. That is the way a story unfolds, slowly, one sentence, one paragraph, one scene at a time. When I finally remember that (why I keep forgetting is beyond me!), the impatience fades, my mood improves, and I can proceed.
Anybody else out there impatient? If so, whether you’re a writer, a reader or both, how do you curb that impatience when writing or reading a book?