The Right Time

Eric Barnes felt the most challenging aspect of writing and publishing was how long everything took. Agents and editors take a long time to read manuscripts, books take a long time to be published. If you’re impatient, he felt, writing might not be for you.

As a young man, I thought patience was overrated. It felt like an excuse to do less than you could. I had a lot do in my life, and the sooner I could get it done, the better. The wheel of life, it seemed to me, could turn a little a quicker if only people would find the urgency in their step.

But this is no way to make friends, and no way to write books. You can write a book in three months or in three years, but either way, writing and publishing a book requires patience. And ironically, impatience cuts you off from the very energy source required to propel events most rapidly.

Patience assumes that what you need most will come to you in time. Not in a long time, and not in a short time, but merely in time. The right story will come to you, the right word, the right agent, the right publisher. Impatience assumes that nothing worthwhile will come to you unless you demand it does, that there are limited resources, and that life’s spoils go only to the luckiest or the quickest amongst us.

And yet, if you are racing impatiently ahead of where you are to something that could be or ought to be, you are in fact ignoring all the opportunities—all the words, stories, agents, lovers, homes, dinners—that are the only actual source for what you need. Everything you need is always right here; it is the only place anything can be. Patience is not about waiting, but about seeing fully what is before you.

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