Writing & Publishing: More Than a Patience Game

My partner in crime, The Conductor, recently forwarded me the following, from an interview with Lost Producer Damon Lindelof:

today’s film and television industries it seems like there are far
fewer writers willing to take risks for originality’s sake. What advice
do you have for aspiring writers who are passionate about a particular
story, even if it risks not being given a chance by today’s audiences?
— Josh G.

As clichéd as it sounds, if you have an original
voice and an original idea, then no matter what anybody says, you have
to find a way to tell that story. My only advice would be you have to
exercise patience. I think the freshman mistake is you feel such
passion for something that you need to tell it now, as opposed to
saying, “Let me establish myself, and five years from now when I’m a
little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit more experienced,
maybe that’s the time to tell that story.”

Sometimes you get a
present for somebody a month before their birthday and you just want to
give it to them immediately. But timing is everything. So I would say
it might feel like your idea is a hard sell now, but maybe in a couple
years the timing will be right. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

Whenever someone asks for my autograph in my book, I usually add my 2 biggest pieces of advice:

Be passionate. Be persistent.

Perhaps persistence is a type of patience. Persistence adds a level of push, of proactiveness, of energy. The wrong kind of patience will lull you right into complacency and inactivity (and waiting to be “discovered”).

Yet: Some people are so pig-headed in their persistence that they can’t discern when it’s time to change course or adapt to changing times.

I recently read about the importance of context, which applies to writing and publishing more than ever. Some writers remain blind to issues of context and can’t grow.

Passion & persistence best serve people who know how to grow, which Lindelof advises: get wiser and more experienced. I couldn’t agree more.

AND—it crushes my heart to witness: A person with unlimited passion who lacks the focus or discipline to do the hard work of realizing the Big Dream she has.

Sometimes, it’s all about who is working hardest, and can devote the most time and energy to their endeavor, and knock on more doors. Not who’s most talented.

For those who are talented and never gain appropriate recognition, you can blame it on bad luck, bad timing, and unfairness, but I’d ask myself: Am I working harder than everyone else?

Photo credit: The Rocketeer

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0 thoughts on “Writing & Publishing: More Than a Patience Game

  1. Jane Friedman

    @Anittah – Thanks for the excellent perspective. I see a lot of precious energy being lost in blaming others, and it prevents some from moving forward.

    @Writer Mama – As usual, you’re always ahead of the times. 😀

    @Jason – Very much appreciate the note!

    @Therea – CopyBlogger is fabulous! Worth adding to your RSS reader.

  2. Jason Dal Bianco

    Right on! I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked these lines. Doubt I’ll ever forget the meaning:

    "Perhaps persistence is a type of patience. Persistence adds a level of push, of proactiveness, of energy. The wrong kind of patience will lull you right into complacency and inactivity (and waiting to be "discovered")."

  3. The Writer Mama

    Interesting post. Sorry to quote myself, but I perk right up whenever I see the topic of "context vs. content" discussed. I started talking about it in an interview with Joe Wikert that was published on January 6, 2009 and kinda wish I had kept going:

    Joe Wikert: How important is content development for writers who want to build a platform?

    Christina Katz: Everyone keeps saying that the future of publishing is all about content. But without context, content is just a bunch of words. And an excess of words just creates static. After clarifying a platform, creating a context becomes the next step.

    Creating context is key to platform development because writers need to attract a base of readers…and naturally this takes time and patience…and eventually content. But without a context for your content that resonates with readers, a writer is really missing a wonderful opportunity to create community. Content and context really go hand in hand and feed each other.

    And speaking of content, what forms will your content take to address readers’ wants and needs? Once you are creating appropriate content for your specific audience, you’ve created a context where something exciting can happen.

    [From http://jwikert.typepad.com/the_average_joe/2009/01/interview-with-author-christina-katz.html%5D

    I’d be interested to hear what others have to say about this topic…

  4. Anittah Patrick

    Thought: someone who is talented yet unrecognized — and yet also blames external forces — may want to explore _why they are blaming external forces_.

    The same brain that generates a blame game … perhaps right there is the success road block.

    I sure as heck don’t want to help people who spend their energy blaming others for their state of affairs — I don’t want to be around that kind of energy and I don’t want to introduce blamers to my "power contacts" who might be able to open very big doors for them. So maybe if someone finds themselves blaming x,y, and z, that might be a good time to take a time out and explore those thought patterns … ?

    Great post as usual. Posted on my FB status! 🙂