It’s supposed to be a virtue

I never realised, when I started this novel-writing lark, that one of the main qualities needed would be patience, but as it turns out, it is the root and fundament of all.

You have to be patient with yourself and your writing; patient with your characters and the plot that is meant to be one thing, but turns out to be another; patient with your readers; patient with your publishers, agents, editors and proofreaders. You have to patient with the production process of ebooks, paper books and audiobooks. Above all, you have to be patient with reviewers and people you just meet who say daft things.

I’m not very patient. Get on with it, generally sums up my approach to life, but that is on the inside.

Outwardly, I’m usually the calm sort. I don’t tut or huff and puff in queues. An estate agent once said he admired my serenity after I discovered I was the 28th person to put an offer in on the same house. (It paid off; I got it!)

I’m a teacher. You can’t get steamed up at every little thing in education or you’d keel over in the first year. My patience has definitely developed big muscles since I began teaching. I can explain the core of a lesson in carefully planned detail to the whole class, then explain it all over again three more times as idlers amble in late for the lesson without committing any act more violent than rolling my eyes a bit. If they tell me the dog ate their homework, I just nod.

Both my children were born 10 days late. This means I have an automatic Doctorate in Endurance Waiting from Job College, University of Griselda.

But even so, waiting for agents and publishers to decide whether they want my next novel is the longest waiting ever in the whole wide world.

 

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