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How I Learned to Be More Patient With My Writing Projects

Thursday, January 25, 2018

When I look at the past four years, I can't help seeing how they're full of creative missteps. I know working on creative projects is not an exercise in perfection. Mistakes are unavoidable. Often, you have to finish whatever you're working on and strive to do better next time. That's normal and can even lead to growth.

However, in my pursuit of getting better, I also wanted to do it quickly.

It reminds me of this article I recently read on Personalityjunkie.com about the creative pitfalls of intuitives with perceiving. For INFPs specifically, it says:

So while ENPs are more apt to struggle with distractibility and lack of focus (Ne), impatience may serve as a greater obstacle to creative success for INPs.

When I read it, all I could do was nod. So me. Now as I'm facing book #3 of the series that I'm writing and seeing that I want to make post publishing adjustments to books 1 and 2, I am more determined to patient, not only for myself but for those who read my work as well.

Here are a few benefits I can think of that come from being patient while working on creative projects:

Allows more time for intuitive insights.

Lately I've been digging into myself and learning more about how I make stories. I do use an outline, but it's definitely not the typical "sit down and write as many things that can happen next as possible" or "follow this story structure" type of outline.

Stories come to me in fragments. Random mental images of scenes pop into my mind throughout the day. When I'm impatient, I try to squeeze out of myself as much story as I can in one setting, and I hate to admit it, but the results have been boring plot lines.

I've decided to wait for the insights to come to me instead. I note whatever scenes pop into my head throughout the day, try to put them in chronological order, and make sense of what emotions the characters are feeling, why, and what themes are emerging.

I've been doing this with book 3 of ARDM and the process feels more natural. I'm regretting how much I rushed everything at the start of this series because I think that if I had given my imagination more time to do its thing, the pacing of events in the first two books would have been better.

Fewer silly mistakes. 

As I've mentioned before, I'm going back to edit books 1 and 2 which have already been published. I wish I was only fixing typos, but unfortunately, I'm going to have to make some plot and character adjustments.  If I had slowed down, felt the story out, or even had been patient enough to write all of the books before publishing, I wouldn't have to do this.

New ideas get fully tested. 

On my previous blog, after finishing Mascara, I remember sharing new comic idea after new comic idea with none of them materializing. It was because I was impatient to get back to posting my work, and I was grabbing at any idea that crossed my mind to make into a comic, even if it was half-baked.

When I'm patient and let the ideas come to me, I can see more clearly if I want to pursue a story or not. If the ideas are arriving regularly, and they are forming a well rounded picture, I should go for it. If each idea makes me gasp and whisper to myself, "That would be so great..." then I definitely should go for it. If ideas are rare or stop all-together, my idea was no more than a fleeting fancy, and not worth my time. Due to impatience, I've wasted too much time creating characters and dry plot-lines for more "fleeting fancies."

The results are more aligned with what I want. 

Being patient allows me to get a clear image in my mind of what I want. I know what I make won't be 100% spot on to what I envisioned, but it can get close enough satisfy me.  When I rush, that image doesn't have time to form, and I find myself unhappy with the results because my mental goals have shifted from when I first started. I don't give myself enough time to let my inner vision stabilize.

Within me is the push to get stories out there. "Do it now before it's too late!" the voice in my mind shouts, full of anxiety and irrational worry. My impatience comes from a fear that doesn't exist. The fear of being "behind" and "too late." But with story creating, there is no "too late." It's never too late to share the story that has caught my interest. My ideas don't have expiration dates stamped on them.

The idea of working patiently also causes me anxiety because I worry that I won't have as much to share on my blog or social media. I feel the pressure to always show progress, and when progress is slow, it's difficult. But in the absence of shareable progress, I'm always learning new things and reading.

Looking at that, I've decided to be more patient, slow down, and step off the race of sharing more progress. Instead I'm sharing what I'm learning, one step at a time, as I move forward creatively and with my life.


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