Patience isn’t the first thing you think of when someone mentions creativity or creatives. You instead picture frenzied artists spattering paint on canvas or the furious typing that follows a great idea, but patience is the driving force behind great work. It plods along, often hidden from view, in the background where it makes beautiful art possible.
Yes, there’s nothing like the spark of a new idea and the excitement of pounding on the keyboard full of visions of far off worlds. Yes, the initial sketch of a new cardboard sculpture fills me with joy and a delighted eagerness to get started. Those feelings are a big part of being a creative, but you must be patient with your art, no matter the form. You must give art time, room to grow, and nurturing if you ever want to be successful. That takes patience. A lot of patience. Dump trucks full of patience.
How is Patience Creative?
Art isn’t based entirely on talent. It also relies on a ton of practice. Ask any artist to look through their earlier work and you will see flaws, improvement over time, and stacks upon stacks of sketchpads, canvases, or discarded lumps of clay. You don’t see the years that have gone into their more recent masterpieces, but those years are there.
If you want to write a book, it takes years of writing before you produce something worthwhile. Sorry. It then takes time to rewrite, revise, and edit something worthwhile into something that can be published. Sorry again. The publishing process can also take years. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Patience must become your friend if you are ever going to make it. So here are a few ways to develop your patience.
1. Know this is a Process – You aren’t going to transform yourself into a best-seller overnight. It happens, but it’s rare. But you will be transforming yourself into a better writer with each word you type, conference you go to, class you take, critique group meeting, and revision pass.
2. Check Your Progress – Read through some of your older works now and again. You will see how far you’ve come and know that you truly are improving.
3. Set it Aside – Put your finished book to the side while you focus on another work. You stay busy and have progress while also giving your brain a rest. You’ll come back to that first book with fresher eyes and improved skills.
4. Read – Reading is an act of enjoyable patience. It takes time and dedication to drop yourself into another world and another mind. It also helps you develop your craft.
5. Meditate – Take a moment to breathe and concentrate on the moment. Impatience is looking to the future and hoping to change the pace of time. You can’t, so learn to live in and enjoy the moment. Reality is only the time you experience now. Embrace that.
6. Be Creative – Indulge in your art. Paint, write, draw, carve, sculpt, build, and do! The more you allow yourself to be creative, the more patient you become with your art.
7. Garden – Nature is relaxing. There are plenty of studies that show it reduces stress and blood pressure. Gardening takes time, nurturing, pruning, and work to bring fresh fruits, herbs, and veggies into your kitchen. Do you see the parallel with your art?
8. Schedule – Creatives tend to resist schedules, which is fine at times. But when you find yourself getting frustrated or impatient, try scheduling out your time so you feel productive, just leave yourself some wiggle room for whim and fun.
9. Reward Yourself – Giving yourself rewards for accomplishing tasks that take some time is a great way to become more patient. Set up delayed rewards and follow through with them when you reach a goal or milestone.
10. Watch the Self Talk – We aren’t always kind to ourselves. Stop that! Speak to yourself like you would a friend. Be kind, encouraging, and uplifting. Squash the negative thoughts as soon as they appear.
Good luck. I have all the faith in you. Go, make great things, be patient, and watch your skills grow!
Charlie Pulsipher is a were-hamster and lemur enthusiast who lives in Saint George, Utah with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy or some mix of the two. He plans on surviving the inevitable zombie-pocalypse that will surely start when dust bunnies rise up against their vacuum cleaner masters. He spends his time away from the keyboard hiking and camping in stunning Southern Utah. Don’t be fooled by his shy, humble exterior.
He does bite and his velociraptor impression is quite scary. It’s probably the coolest thing about him.