The more I write, the more aware I become of how patient I need to be.
I know (now, anyway) that I cannot write an entire story or an essay in a day, no matter how much I want to. (I always want to.) I have very little patience about most things. When I was younger I used to paint a lot, and my paintings suffered from my insistence on finishing them as quickly as possible. It’s the same with writing…sometimes when I start something, and I’m very excited about it, I get annoyed that I can’t just finish it immediately. Sometimes I am so eager to finish what I’m working on that I can’t even work on it (wow, pretty moronic, now that I’ve typed that out).
In any case, I’ve gotten better about this with most things, particularly things I care about. I have been working on a short story — maybe not as much as I’d like, but I’ve been getting in some regular writing time — and the more I work on it, the longer my thoughts have to percolate, the longer I can sit with the story, the better off the story is. I worked on it for an hour and a half yesterday morning, and though I wasn’t able to get back to it all day, by evening I knew what I needed to do next. My brain kept processing the story and its parts, rearranging paragraphs, reordering events in time, adding scenes, taking scenes away. Sometimes I was conscious of thinking of these things, sometimes I was not, and when I brought my mind back to the story again the time not thinking about it had done me good.
In a way, this is a benefit of not having quite enough writing time. Not enough time to actually sit down and write means that there’s more time to sit with the story, or the essay, or whatever, and allow the right things to float to the surface. It’s a different kind of patience, one that requires not just being comfortable with time passing, but also a clear head and a willingness to let the end come when it will.