Thursday, November 12, 2009


I admit when they were handing out the gift of patience I must have been hiding behind the door. When I want something I want it now, not tomorrow, not next week or next year; now. Now imagine my frustration when my WIP resolutely refuses to magically finish itself. Fun picture, isn't it?

I don't mind waiting in line at the grocery store; I read all the covers of the shiny magazines and discover who's breaking up with who and who's having another baby.

Digression: Why am I still supposed to care about Jennifer Aniston's love life? If I see one more headline hinting that she and Brad are secretly still in love I may spit. In public.

I don't mind waiting in line at the bank ( yes, I still have one account with no ATM card; it forces me to think whether or not I really want to spend money on something). I don't mind waiting for many things, but this one word at a time thing with writing can drive me a little nuts.

I have an on-going fantasy of opening up my word processing program and discovering my word count has increased by thousands overnight. So far, this fantasy goes unfulfilled but every morning I have fresh hope. My word count does climb every day, but slowly. Why can't I be one of these writers who sit down and, presto, novels flow effortlessly from their fingers onto the screen? I have good days and bad days, but never presto days. There are times I think I can see a light gleaming hopefully in the distance, but most days I'm fairly sure it's a mirage.

I'm trying to be practical. I tell myself everyone writes at their own pace. I look at my word count which is higher than it was a few days ago and say "See, you're getting there." But where are the word elves? Just one little elf...

Are you a patient writer? Do you rejoice in putting one word at a time onto the page? Or, are you too, looking under the bed hoping to find a word elf?


  1. Elspeth - I sometimes wish very much that I had a word elf. The reality is that writing sometimes just goes slowly. If it's any comfort, it goes slowly for many authors, not just yourself. And I believe that books that are written too quickly aren't as savory as books that are written over time. They lack depth and substance, in my opinion. Readers can spot this lack of depth and most of them find it off-putting. So go at your own pace and remember who won that tortoise/hare race...

  2. Not much rejoicing going on here. What's that quote? "I don't like writing. I like having written."

  3. Word elf makes me think of the Harry Potter house elf. I think I'll hold out for a word wizard. It is wonderful when the words flow easily.

    Straight From Hel

  4. Margot; You always have such wise words; thank you for another wonderful comment.

    Alan; What a great quote.

    Helen; You can have the word wizard; I'll take the elf. I hadn't thought of Harry Potter, I was thinking about the elves that help the shoemaker in the old fairy tale.

  5. Margot has an excellent point about that infamous race.

    I find that I feel much the same way about any number of things in life, (I want certain things NOW). But almost always, those things that take time, end up having been worth the wait.

  6. I don't do patience well, at all. When I need a certain "right" word and can't come up with it, I go bonkers. Get stuck, banging my dufus head against the wall. Reminds me of the oxymoronish prayer, "God please give me patience, and GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW!" lol

    Marvin D Wilson

  7. Crystal; More wise words. Thank you.

    Old Silly; I don't mind about not coming up with the right word, I do an odd notation in the manuscript and come back to it. I LOVE that prayer. Stealing it NOW!

  8. I'm not a patient person. Not at all.

    I usually have to force the writing and just go back and fix it later.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  9. I wonder if all writers have an impatience problem. It is one of my worst personality traits. And when it comes to writing,it downright makes me depressed. Guess we have to remember that it's really not a race.

  10. Elizabeth; My problem is when I force the writing it's really really bad and I end up even more frustrated.

    Karen; I wonder if we all do? The most annoying races are the ones we have with ourselves!

  11. If you find a word elf, please send him my way!

    I think I've learned to be patient, and except that some days I'll crank out a lot, and other days not so much.

  12. I'm a turtle, plodding along, word by word. Some days the words find magic wings and turtles fly, but most days, no. I do keep my eyes on the day's goal, though, and by doing that it keeps me going. I long ago gave up looking for the word elf after he kicked sand in my face.

  13. Carolyn; If I find the word elf I'm keeping him! I'll even make him a hat.

    Carol; Daily goals are good if they're realistic. You HAD a word elf? Where did you find him?

  14. I'm impatient, which is why I write so fast, I think. I'm always eager to get to the end...but what's the hurry? Good books are built one word at a time. It's just hard to see page 120, knowing you have 280 pages to go, and not feel daunted.

  15. I want a shower scrubbing, dust bunny fetching, window washing elf. As far as the words go, if real life could go away I would be downright prolific.

  16. Stephanie; I think everyone wishes they wrote at a different pace than they do. Congrats on your speed! (no, I'm not bitter, no, not at all!)

    Elizabeth; A housekeeping elf? Why didn't I think of that? I'd love to be downright prolific. What a great phrase.

  17. What frustrates me is when I finally learn to have patience with writing, and others expect me to turn out an MS every week. It's mostly my parents (yes, I'm a grown woman with a husband and kids, but they still stick their noses in my life, mostly with welcome). I think it's usually well-meant, but the question, "How's your writing?" or "Have you written anything yet?" is starting to be met with a cold eye flutter of disbelief. OF COURSE I've written something! Have I written War and Peace? No. Have I even written Grapes of Wrath? No. But I've written something. And that should be enough. Patience.


  18. I am a very patient person. Patience is my other people. For myself, I am not so patient wanting more words written... more submissions sent out...just more of everything -yesterday.

    I need to give myself the gift of patience and accept me for who I am. After all, I am quite lovely. :)

  19. I'm mostly a patient person, but there are definitely times when I feel like I just can't stand to wait any more. For me, these times tend to come when I'm tired and trying to write a query or synopsis.

  20. Journaling Woman; I agree with everything you said!

    Jemi; I think anyone's patience is tested when they're tired. Stairs seem steeper, time moves slower, etc.


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