The patient writer

I’m not going to fret about the fact that it’s the last day of July and I had hoped to finish my manuscript today and post its pristine, perfectly penned pages to my agent tomorrow but it’s not going to happen because I’m only on page 127 with 66 more to go and those final 66 pages are where the bulk of my changes lie. No, I fret not. I think what I’ve come to realize in the last few months (OK, years) of working on this book is that patience really does pay off.

There is a part of me that just wants to be done, mostly so that I can move on to something else gnawing on the edges of my brain, but also because the feeling of completion is powerful. But what is the point of being done if the story hasn’t really matured into something that speaks powerfully? Power builds slowly. And no, I don’t think that what I’m writing is so important that it must must must (!) be published. But I definitely believe very strongly in what I have to say, regardless of whether or not it ever graces a bookshelf. And I also  believe that it speaks powerfully to me, more and more so as I have worked on it over time.

It turns out that patience is as essential a tool to writers as laptop and printer, or pen and ink, or even pencil and napkin. But at a time when things are so immediately and easily accessible (find out the latest fallout over the President’s tiniest move (Beer Summit!) online, catch last night’s Daily Show on your Tivo, buy that song you just heard in the car next to you on iTunes while waiting for the light to change and listen to it the next time you hit the gas) it’s hard to remember that getting what you want now doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re getting is really the best it can be.