Today I give you a glimpse into my personal and professional journey with gaining patience.
Patience is a virtue, slippery though it may be. Just when I think I’ve gained some patience, I find I’m left lacking. Sigh… I think gaining patience will be a perpetual life lesson for me. It has been a “two steps forward, one step back” scenario since I can remember. Oh, I’m better than I used to be. My lack of patience with myself, my children, and others sometimes hit a point when frustration took over and my impatience manifested into an unpleasant behavior. Over the years I have learned to manage and be more patient with others. I’ve found impatience often sparks frustration within me when I lack control of a situation, object, or myself. Learning to let go of that control has been a hard but freeing process.
Having multiple sclerosis has given me ample opportunity to have patience with myself. When I first started to lose normal muscle function, I often got frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to manage a basic task like buttering my toast. Little by little I have come to terms with how to allow myself grace for what I can no longer do or do well. On a rare occasion, however, a fuse blows, (yes, I remember the days when you had to replace blown electrical fuses in the house) and I lose control. Patience goes out the window. I cry, rant, and throw a couple of things for good measure, and then I’m done. Moving on, I try not to beat myself up too much for giving into the resulting frustration of impatience. Patience has not completed her perfect work in me yet; I am a work in progress.
I became an author this year, and in this independent authoring profession, I have learned some valuable lessons pertaining to patience. Here are my top three:
I should have had more patience with the process and not tried to rush things. I wish I had worked harder to get all the kinks out of my manuscript and contracted with a professional editor before I queried to agents. Next year, I plan to try the process again—querying to engage the service of an agent with my new series.
Once I have an idea I usually run with it. I guess you could call me prone to impulse. I regret not putting more thought into a publishing/marketing plan before I self-published my first book this last April. I had no platform in place from which to talk about my books. After I published, I spent months getting a social media following and setting up my website. I should have had those avenues in place before I released my book, but I didn’t know. I learned as I went. Being an indie author has followed a hard learning-curve.
I can’t do everything myself. I am a total DIYer, so paying someone to do a task–in which I have some skill–rankles me. I designed my original covers, but they printed out too faded and dark. I tried a second set, which are attractive, but still not on the same level as what the big name publishers are putting out in the historical fiction genre. Finally, I came to the realization that I needed a professional. New covers should be completed in a few weeks.
I will have different cover images floating around out there and the work of redoing all my promo materials/graphics on the web and for print and uploading my cover files to the three different publishers I have. If I had been patient and did some research, I might have realized that to compete with other books like mine in the market—I need a stunning cover.
Take a lesson from me—Patience is always worth it and will save you in the long run.