PATIENCE; A WRITER’S VIRTUE

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Patience is one virtue a budding writer needs during growth. Every writer wants to get a point where he or she gets published and amasses a large community of loyal readers. Yet the journey to such success can be long and tortuous. Without patience, frustration and discontent can set in and mar the journey.

This is one big lesson I learnt though not early enough. It’s better late than never, right? Before I firmly decided to hone my craft to the best of my ability, I was just writing without paying ‘attention’ to what I was writing. I just wanted to ‘blow’, that is, become a literary sensation overnight. The only way I felt I could achieve that was by taking part in big competitions like the Women’s prize, Caine prize etc. I believed that winning would give me a platform that would make publishers seek me out and offer me juicy contracts.

This was just me being in a hurry to make my dreams come true. Each time I rushed to write a story for such, it didn’t scale through and I was always crushed. Thankfully, I got up right back and doggedly continued onward without even retracing my steps. Do you realise that you could be working so hard at your dreams but you are actually heading in the opposite direction of what you really want? That’s what impatience does to you.

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I don’t know exactly when and how I had my epiphany but I’m happy I did. If not, I may still be chasing shadows. To put a finger to a particular time my notions started changing would be when I decided to read stories written by the winners of such competitions. My drive was the curiosity to know what made them win so I could write the same. Soon enough, I started trying to write like them and I failed again. This made me very discontent not only with seeing my dreams seem unattainable but with the fact that I was not writing the way I wanted to. I was busy trying to be like someone else. Just another result of impatience.

Why you need patience

Good things take time and the earlier you realise it, the better for you. The journey to becoming a well-seasoned writer doesn’t happen in one day. Patience is needed at every point;

  • To find your voice: Discover what genre(s) and writing style(s) you love. Don’t try to be someone else in your hurried state of mind. Learn from the best but don’t copy them.
  • To grow: Writing is like a plant which if well taken care of would grow to bear fruit. Its flowers would bloom and be visible for all to see and admire.
  • To tell your story: Good plots cannot be created in a rush. You don’t want your story to lack depth and cohesion.
  • For contentment: The journey can be undeniably long but you can never really tell. Trust me you don’t want be disgruntled when things don’t fall in place at the time you’ve imagined. Your sanity of mind is key for growth.
  • To grow your readership: Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. If you are going to publish a book, you would also want people to read it. It is necessary to start in whatever way you can to grow a community of readers who love your writing. This you could do through freelancing, blogging and sharing your stories free for everyone to read and discover the stuff you are made of. In this age of social media, it’s a lot easier. This is a very necessary step which doesn’t happen overnight.

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Your dreams are valid but never think less of the journey to achieve them. It’s as important as the dreams because it shapes and prepares you. It takes time to have a successful writing career. Patience, in the right dose, is a prerequisite for a successful journey. The right dose I say because an overdose can lead to sloth. A certain degree of internal unrest is still necessary to keep driving you to surpass your limits and scale obstacles.

May our dreams come true!

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