It has been about four months since my last blog post and I must say I am super happy to be writing another one. In my mind, I wanted to complete a blog series that explored the four P’s (planning, push, purpose, and patience) and the power in them. However, life happened, which means stress happened, but now I’m here finally adding the last part. The power of patience.
The power of patience has been a constant struggle in my life. I like everything to happen when I want it to happen, but the past few months have truly allowed me to see the value of patience and how it is helping to shape me into a better writer, a better business woman, and better human being. Now, I won’t be too hard on myself because I have been making some serious and drastic changes to other areas in my life, but sadly my blog, social media, and some of my writing projects have taken a back seat. My novella series Sugar Lane has taken me much longer to complete than originally intended and I am still nowhere near having the book sales or social media following that I envisioned having by this time, but after some intense self-evaluation I am ok with this.
When I wrote the previous posts in this series, I was feeling passionate, full of hope and optimism. I had worked hard, but I was seeing that I needed to work harder if I wanted to reach my goals. I thought my previous blog posts sounded amazing, like a guru unlocking life’s big secrets, but in all actuality, I was obsessing, questioning the purpose had defined for myself. My plan was in shambles so I had to create a new one, and I was pushing myself too hard. I had a tough as nails attitude when it came to getting stuff done because I wanted my life to change, and change fast. I was envisioning the fast track to success, but I quickly learned that the fast-track doesn’t exist. At least not for me. My path has required a lot of hard work where I have had both failures and small successes. My intense way of doing things wasn’t sustainable and I had to stop. It was like trying to compete in an Iron Man without training and I was done before I even got started. I did not have the patience to sit and assess my situation. I didn’t have the patience to be still in and learn. My life was work, work, work, all day and every day. I almost burned myself out because of it. My error was in not being patient, trying to rush my learning, my writing, and my career to a place it just wasn’t ready to go.
I believe in honest writing and the truth is I really wasn’t prepared to take on the responsibility that I had assigned myself. I’m usually a practice what you preach kind of girl and I realized that I was being the biggest hypocrite. I was overwhelmed like a lot of people are and that was what I was beginning to see. I have a demanding day job with a two hour commute on most days which can be very tiring. By the end of the day, I have the hardest time trying to do anything that requires a lot of brain power and for me writing does, especially if I’m editing. It takes everything in me to not just drink a bottle of wine and binge watch something on Netflix. When I realized that the quality of my writing was suffering, I had to take a step back. Not only was I pushing myself too hard, but I wasn’t doing the things that I needed to do to sustain myself either. I wasn’t eating well or exercising to give myself energy. I was allowing financial stress to get the best of me too. I had blown through my monthly food budget by purchasing fast food. I felt like there was time for nothing and sadly that is how a lot of people feel daily. Soon, enough was enough and I was forced to choose between being miserable or actually taking a chance at doing something they might benefit me. I had to finally be responsible and take control. So I owned up to my failures and shortcomings, cleaned up my act, and life has been better ever since. I am sleeping better, my mind feels clearer, and I’ve brushed up on my culinary skills so I eat at home more. I’m back on track with my budget and now that I have pulled back a little and eliminated some of the pressure I’ve placed on myself, the words are flowing and I’m learning. I can savor the experience because I not rushing to change things. I can just immerse myself in the craft and it’s amazing.
This all leads me to my grand point. The power of patience. Sometimes some not so great things must happen in your present in order for great things to come together in your future. No one likes the sucky parts of life, but they are necessary for your growth and development. No one likes feeling like they are stuck, but sometimes you have to pull yourself back to reality, in order to be catapulted forward. I think many new self-published authors like myself really want things to happen quickly. That’s the appeal of self-publishing. Everybody is talking about all the royalty money they make and their email list. But I’m tired of hearing about that. I love authors who keep it real. “Yeah, I didn’t see any actual success until several years down the line,” that’s the author that I want to talk to. I want to know about the grind. I want to know about the blood sweat and tears. I want to know about the nights where you were drowning a bottle of wine or setting your manuscript on fire.
Everybody want lots of sales and readers as soon as possible and there is nothing wrong with that but don’t allow it to cloud your reality and consume you. Patience is a virtue and I was lacking it. Taking a step back to rest and reassess created an opportunity for me to ask myself, “Are you truly ready for the success that you want?” The honest answer was no. If I would have had instant success I would have squandered every last bit of it. I would have been unprepared for managing the money side of the business. I would have probably made emotional, impulsive decisions in order to keep the success rolling. I would probably be pressured and rushed to put out another book. It would probably suck and I would still be overwhelmed.
I’m not sure how “successful” I’m going to be in this industry. Everyone has a different idea of what that looks like because it depends on individual goals, but I intend to reach all of mine. It may take a few months, it may take a year, it may take a decade, but I love this writing thing so I won’t stop. There are lessons on this road and as I continue, I’m going to make sure I don’t zoom past them.