NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 20: Patience

by | Nov 20, 2016 |

“Have patience with all things, but first with yourself.” – St. Frances de Sale

So, the trip to the doctor yesterday was both good news and bad news. I do not have a nasty cold, incipient bronchitis or the flu. The bad news is: I have a sinus infection and have to take a course of antibiotics in hopes of beating it before the stupid thing settles in as it did two years ago. Four months. I was sick for four months that time. Not something I care to repeat.

So I am on the mend, but I’m going to need to have patience with myself. I absolutely want to be better now, but that’s not going to happen. I want to make up all the words I’m behind, but that’s not going to happen immediately, either. Step by step. If I took nothing else away from the several rounds I did of The Artist’s Way back in the 90’s, it’s that you must take baby steps before you can walk with speed or run. Even Usain Bolt had to toddle at some point in his life.

But when things don’t move as fast as we think we should, it’s very easy to lose patience. Sometimes it’s because the line is long at the grocery store and Express Line has a customer who has thirty-seven items, not fifteen or less (yes, I counted), and a batch of coupons, a number of which are expired so they’re arguing with the clerk about them. It’s easy to have a clear target in that instance of where our impatience is aimed.

But what about when our career isn’t moving at the speed we want, our love life doesn’t progress as we think it should, or the words are falling from our fingers as a much slower pace than we would like? The first target is often ourselves. I’ve been dealing with this a lot this week, because I sense time ticking and stuff is not coming together as I want it to. Because, often, the person we’re most impatient with is ourselves – and often without good cause.

Look, if you spend your time playing a game online or cruising news sites, telling yourself you’ll get to writing in “just a minute,” only to find your time has disappeared and not a word has been written, I can empathize with you because I’ve done that. But maybe you should be a little impatient with yourself then because you’re not getting down to the business of getting the work done.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been at the keyboard every day, trying to meet your goal, but job, family or health has interfered, please be kind to yourself. Keep making your best effort and understand that it’s not necessarily your fault. If your plot has severely derailed, take a deep breath. Be patient with yourself while you figure out where you need to go next. It’s not the easiest thing in the world at times. It it was, well, we wouldn’t stress over it so much.

Ten days to go after this and we’re closing in on the home stretch. If things have gone well for you this NaNo, novel validation begins today which means we’ll start seeing “Winner” notations. If you’re one of those, I officially hate you. Now, go finish the rest of the damn book if you haven’t already.

For the rest of us, have patience with yourself. Do your best effort, always pushing forward. As I write this, “Wait For it” from Hamilton has come up on my iTunes. Burr sings, “Life doesn’t discriminate/Between the sinners and the saints/It takes and it takes and it takes/And we keep living anyway/We rise and we fall and we break/And we make our mistakes.” It’s what most of us do every day, just move forward one step at a time, no matter what life throws at us. It’s all we can do.

Be good to yourself today, and have patience with yourself as you write. You may have to wait a bit longer than you’d like to cross the finish line of a first draft, but it’s worth it.

Word Count Goal: 33,340

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