“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a writer’s life, a fundamental question that keeps popping up every now and then in conversations and thoughts is – “What are the most important qualities that a writer must possess?”
Apart from the obvious answers to the question which stem from our basic understanding of life, I feel a certain level of restlessness and a fine balance between conviction and self-doubt are essential traits of a writer. But, there is one lesser talked about virtue – which according to me is the strongest one – that is at the nucleus of the method of getting those words on paper the way a writer wishes to do. And that’s patience!
We live in an era of instant gratification. The online world gives us a constant peek into what is happening around us. The moment a writer submits a literary piece on social media, likes, comments and shares follow. Across platforms, our social media feed is abuzz with updates of our fellow writers about winning contests and prizes, launching their books and achieving noteworthy milestones. While this is inspiring and gives us a sense of belonging to the community, distractions and impatience to keep up are inevitable. This can lead to a tendency to be all over the place and churn out literary works at a rapid pace which is detrimental to the innate, intuitive and sublime process of writing.
Writing requires a great deal of patience and is not a thing of haste. It is a concoction of the various ingredients that go into producing a fine piece which should be allowed to brew. The whiff and flavour of each element and aroma has to infuse in right proportions to give the reader the intended experience. However, patience is not entirely an inherent quality in humans. It is something we learn and acquire with unrelenting efforts and a strong will. Over the years, keeping a few points in mind has helped me to be patient and persistent gradually.
Self-awareness – Introspecting from time to time has made me realize what I am. We are evolving beings and it is vital to be conscious of what we are becoming as we grow and learn. Discovering my strengths and weaknesses has helped me to be patient when it comes to my writing process. This awareness automatically shifts the focus on one self and blurs out what someone else is doing, thus keeping the mind devoid of any diversion that might bring about edginess within.
Clarity of goals – In the present day, there are multiple choices available for a writer which means one can choose to walk along different paths. Writing goals are personal and it is imperative in today’s times to understand what one is aiming to achieve. In my journey as a writer, I have always kept my mind focused on my goal irrespective of what other writers are doing. As an example, I have never taken part in any blogging challenge because that does not fit my scheme of things. Getting carried away by the tide or the fear of missing out will not take you where you aspire to be. Clarity of purpose, not necessarily long term, has been a key factor in instilling patience in me. I have learnt to wait, take a pause and give my best because I know what matters to me at the end of the day.
Realizing the importance of learning the craft – You write, you share and you receive an overwhelming response. It boosts your confidence and you feel over the moon. You write more and you don’t even realize when it becomes all about pleasing the readers and seeking their appreciation. Be it complacency or urgency, both are bound to bring down the quality of a writer’s work. The fact is that learning the craft of writing is a continuous process. The evolution doesn’t end. I take my time to work on my writing skills because I have become strongly cognizant of its significance. Practice, practice and more practice is the only way to move forward.
What, Not how much – What a writer gives to the reader is always more important than how much he/she is giving to the reader. If I produce five average books in the rush to get published, am I being honest to my readers and myself? The answer is evident. I keep reminding myself that “what” I give them is what will impact them. They need to be able to experience to connect. So, I write, re-visit, edit, edit more and keep improvising till I am content with the output.
Patience has always been a “keyword” for the writer in me. Everything else follows once this is in place. Give time. Set realistic goals. Keep calm and write on!
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