In my writing, I’ve battled many foes. I’ve battled the lack of confidence and come out on top (well, mostly). I battled with the idea of marketing myself, of seeing myself as a brand, and eventually came to accept it and even embrace it. I hated writing queries and now I quite enjoy that process. I like to believe that my attitude has improved as well, that instead of thinking “I can’t do this” or “How the heck am I going to pull this off?” I say instead, “Let me try.”
But the one foe I haven’t yet been able to conquer is impatience. I should have broken into Nat Geo by now (never mind that I’ve never once pitched them), I should have sold my book by now, I should be making more money than I am by now. I don’t know where it comes from, this sentiment of “should… by now” but it’s there, we all have it.
So what can you do about it? Try the following:
1. This is going to sound fairly obvious, but try taking a good look at what you have done. Last week when I was putting together my portfolio for my website, I realized that I actually had to delete at least half of some of my best clips because there’s just not enough space for all of them. I wanted to showcase my best work and I ended up with 100+ articles that I count as “very good” not to mention the hundreds that I did just for the money or the clip. That’s not bad.
2. Take a step forward. You haven’t broken into Nat Geo by now, so what can you do today to change that? Read a few issues. Maybe tomorrow you can think of story ideas and next week, you could look up the name of an editor. If you haven’t sold a book by now, why is that? Is there anything you can do about it?
3. Be proactive. Traditionally, writers have had to sit around waiting for agents, editors, and publishers to get back to them, and this creates a lot of impatience and aggravation for us. It’s not like we’re talking days. These things take weeks, sometimes months and years. But modern-day writers do not have to sit around and wait. We are fully in control of our careers if we’re willing to do the work and take the risk. So if you’re tired of sitting around waiting for agents, editors, and publishers, have you considered taking the initiative yourself with your own (self-hosted) blog or self-published book?
Do you agree? What do you do when you’re feeling impatient about your career and how do you move forward? Share your successes (and your failures) of taking the initiative below in the comments.