Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club – Lesson #24

Welcome to the Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club! Every Wednesday, we meet to discuss one of the lessons in Dojo Wisdom for Writers. We’ll go in order, so it’s easy enough to follow along. Read the lesson, then read the blog post, then comment in the comments! Do feel free to comment on each other’s comments. I’ll answer questions as quickly as I can.

Lesson #24. Mastery requires patience

This lesson is about not expecting to immediately expertise even if you work hard at it. It takes time to build mastery. But today I’d like to expand this idea to all aspects of a writing career. It all takes patience. I was just talking with a colleague about a change in how I’m approaching a certain aspect of my freelancing, and she offered various ways of supporting me (yay for colleagues!) and I said, “It just takes time.”

It struck me that I have said that about different writing-related situations at least five times in the last week. But in an Internet-paced world, our idea of how long things take or should take is radically compressed. There was a time if I sent an email and it took three or four days to get a response, that didn’t seem to be an especially long time. Now if I send an email and don’t get a response in the same day, I wonder if the recipient even received it and whether I should follow up right away or wait another day.

The problem with being that impatient is that you can end up making decisions (often unwisely) that you wouldn’t make if you were just a little more patient. Not that a timely follow up is wrongheaded, just that “I give up, I’m going to try something else” is often the decision we make when we don’t cultivate patience.

Has there ever been a time when you exercised patience and were rewarded? Or felt impatient and made a hasty decision? How did that work out?