I am ashamed to admit that I am a hypocrite. Why? because I tell my son to have patience. When he can't do something first time and he get's annoyed and fed up I say to him in a motherly tone - "You can't expect to do everything first time. It takes practice. Just have patience."
But do I follow my own advice? No. I have no patience.
I get cross in queues, I get fed up in restaurants and I always want things to happen straight away. And when I finally made the decision to write a book I was the same way. I wrote my first novel and sent it off in a rush of excitement, imagining publishing deals and fame and fortune. It was of course rejected, by everyone and rightly so. It was rubbish.
The next time I managed to hold off a little but still sent it off to agents before anyone else had even read it. Yes, I admit it, I sent off a first draft. Why? Because I wanted it out there, I wanted things happening, I wanted an agent and a publishing deal and everything else before I even really knew what I was doing.
It was rejected again.
Slowly I started to learn that I needed to work on my ideas. More then I ever thought possible. And I have learned about patience.
Each time I submit something I must practice patience as I wait for the torturous process to move to the next stage, each time I finish a draft I must practice patience as I put it aside and let it rest before I rework it yet again and I think it's working. I believe I can see improvements in my work and in the responses I get but it's hard.
It's hard for my son and it's hard for me.
We live in a culture that promotes instant success, got a talent? Go on a talent show and find instant fame and fortune instead of striving for perfection and working for years to improve your craft. Don't have a talent? Get on the telly somehow and become a celebrity famous for having no talent.
Working for years to achieve what you want almost seems to be an outdated concept but I wonder what method is really more fulfilling?
Does instant success make you happier? Probably not. Being thrust into a world you barely understand, being asked to perform beyond your capabilities and possibly failing to live up to the expectations are all possible pitfalls.
Achieving that success after years of effort though, that's the ultimate rush and the benefits are huge. The experience you've gained, the battle scars you've earned mean that you understand what you're doing and you have the skills necessary to sustain a career.
So, really, what's the rush? The agents and editors aren't going anywhere. Send in your best work, work that shines like a polished gem. That's my new motto.
Can't guarantee not to get annoyed in queues though...