Today I’m going to talk about the Three P’s of writing…and no, they aren’t Pancakes, PJs and Procrastination (totally should be though, right?)
The three P’s are Patience, Perseverance and Professionalism. There may be more like pencils and plots but I think we will just stick to the main three. 🙂
I think most of the ‘patience’ in writing comes from the delays and the slow build. So (for me) this mainly is about the time it takes to build a following, to build your brand, to get your name out there.
This is important since even if you go the traditional publishing route, much of your marketing needs to be done by you.
Take blogging, for example, if you blog you need to do so regularly, you need to put out content that (hopefully) people want to read, you need to build up a following and apparently it can take over a year of regular posting before you get indexed by Google. See? Not a quick process.
Patience also refers to how long you have to wait when you submit your work to reviewers.
These people usually have a long list of books to read before they get to yours and hounding them isn’t a good idea. So you have to wait.
Not to mention if you submit your manuscript to a Publishing House (if you are going through traditional publishing that is) or are trying to secure an agent.
These can all take time. In fact, it can be months before a publisher even replies to your manuscript…even just to reject it. (I have read that one of the longest was 3 years before a publisher responded)
If you came into writing as a way to make a quick buck or to fling out a quickly penned story, then I think you’re in the wrong business.
You need to come to this life with patience, either have it in spades or learn to develop it. (sadly, I fall into the latter… I was definitely back of the line when patience was being handed out) But if you want to be a writer, you need to develop some.
Writing a novel is hard. You could be the best writer in the world, that doesn’t make it any less hard.
And by writing a novel, I mean all of it – the planning, brainstorming, thought-dumping, researching, plotting, crying, writing, editing, more crying, more editing….etc you get the point.
It’s also easy to feel like the story will never get finished, so much writing and re-writing then editing and that’s before it gets picked apart by critique partners, beta readers, editors etc.
Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of courage to sit down and bleed your life into your work. It is exhaustive, mentally and emotionally exhaustive. But to do it, you need to keep going.
You need to persevere through all the rough patches, all the negativity and writing blocks and keep fighting to get to the end. It will be worth it.
Whether you do this as a hobby or with the hope of becoming a paid novelist or are already a paid novelist, there should be some semblance of professionalism involved.
I discussed recently how there is a number of writers that seem to miss this important aspect. They are nasty and unprofessional to their beta-readers, their reviewers and even to some of their readers.
Not only does this behaviour burn bridges with people who may be able to help you, but negative situations are talked about more than positive ones (fact of life, people).
So those people that are treated badly for maybe pointing out a flaw or leaving a less than a 5-star review will talk. They will tell their friends and family and colleagues about the shitty writer who left them hate comments or abusive messages.
Nobody wants to get critiqued, but it happens. As a writer, you put your work out there and someone is going to crap on it (another fact of life).
But for the people who might not make you feel great about your work, there will be some who love it and remember as long as YOU love it, that’s the most important.
So put on your Big Girl/Boy Pants and suck it up. You are the brand for your writing and you don’t want to be pegged as some nasty bastard.
Don’t take comments to heart, take them to your head and figure out if what they say can help you become a better writer. Not every comment will.
It’s not always easy to be professional, I appreciate that we’re human, we’re creative and that means we can often feel things quite intensely.
I run a little online shop and I’ve had a couple of people send me negative comments. Sometimes the fault was mine, sometimes the customer didn’t read the description and so didn’t acknowledge the size of an item… it can be frustrating and hurtful to read negative comments and even nasty comments.
That does NOT mean you should lash out. Even if someone says something horrible, something that is meant to hurt you – remain the better person and be professional.
Bitch about it in private if you need to vent and let it out, but if you must comment or reply, be calm, courteous and professional.
That is the image you want to cultivate.
Do you have your own Three P’s you think a writer needs? Poptarts? Poodles? Portcullis?