craft, creative writing, creativity, experience, process, writing

Patience and Process

Sit down, listen and I will share something I’ve learned.

I have learned this through pain and upset, which is how the best lessons are learned. Ask a thwarted lover, they will tell you, if they can manage to stop crying long enough for any degree of clarity.

The most difficult thing to learn when pursuing a goal, artistically or otherwise, is patience. Society is geared towards instant gratification, to the point that it sinks into the unconscious and you are unaware of how that desire has been stitched into you. So, for instance, when you’re writing and you want to get feedback even as the first draft resembles a hostage demand written by a dyslexic clown with a crayon between its teeth.

You know what I am talking about but you need to breathe through it.

I got your back on this. Trust me.

It never goes away, but you make your peace with it. It is a long game, and you have to approach these long periods as part of your training. Think of a montage in an action movie and use that time to educate and improve yourself. Develop a practice that can sustain you through those times. My patience is being tested whilst waiting for a nod from a publisher about the second book so having a process inures me to that, to a certain degree.

When I say that, I will break that down into stages so that we are clear on this matter, together, okay?

By that I mean, something that you commit to daily/weekly/monthly for an amount of time where you focus either on the act of, or learn something about your art form.

I write two pages a day, sometimes it is done in one heady rush, it can be awkward or slow but it gets done. That two pages can be part of a first draft, it can be editing towards a later draft, it can be two pages of a short story but it gets done.

Why?

OK, so my reasoning, and it is sourced in research and experience,

  • It gives you something to do whilst waiting for the time to pass. The devil makes work for idle hands, and all that. If you’re always working on something, you’re using that ambient emotional energy in a productive fashion.
  • You improve over an organic period of time, by working on it in small (manageable) increments without being consciously aware of it. I don’t believe in the idea of natural genius. There is talent, there is hard work that gets you to a level of talent and genius is normally the perfect storm of the two.
  • A little each day builds up courage, like saving pennies. I think it’s a good antidote to ‘writer’s block’ which I prefer to frame as resistance, and in turn, think it’s a fear of writing poorly. Don’t worry about it, get it down and get it done.
  • You get used to the idea of being productive regardless of circumstance. Writing to inspiration is great, but it is inconsistent and doesn’t lend itself to a professional mind set. I believe in being professional, it is a source of my personal enjoyment in the craft. Behaving like a professional tends to get you treated like one, and I believe in that attitude for a number of reasons. One, it lowers the pressure if you do get to that point and two, it lends itself to a better nuance of enjoyment when you are honing in on different levels of craft or the project. That’s before we get into things like manifestation and goal setting, which I probably won’t. A man has to keep something back, you know?

OK, so hopefully that gives you something to think about. Montage over.

If you have any questions, then please use the contact form and I will answer them. Anonymity is assured, should you wish and please put that in the body of the question so I know.

 

 

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