A Patient Author Succeeds

Every author has been told that patience is a necessity, but has anyone really explained to you why that is important? The word patient can usually be found in a rejection letter. “We are very sorry, but your book is not for us. Stay patient and your time will come.” 

Before I breakdown areas in which an author’s patience is tested, take a look at these other words that identify how authors succeed: 

Endurance, staying power, tolerance, lack of complaint, persistence, fortitude, serenity, unwearied, long suffering, open-mindedness, acceptance, survival, stamina, continued existence. 

That sure covers a lot of ground. Nevertheless, each is important. 

How about we flip things around? What are some reasons that authors become impatient


I am assuming that you do not travel to Poet’s Cove in Vancouver, Canada to write your book for six months in peace and quiet. Most of you have families, friends, co-workers, or Farmville to deal with. 

On top of all that, most of you have bills, chores, errands, grocery shopping, picking kids up from school, church projects, soccer practice, phone is ringing, and so on. How in the world are you expected to write a novel with all that going on? 

When an author works at home, family and friends can be a huge distraction. Just because you are not at an office or hidden in a cabin, doesn’t mean that you are not working. You need to set some boundaries. 

  • Make it a family rule that if your fingers are on the keyboard, you are working. PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB.
  • Let everyone know that you write your book from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Or maybe you write after dinner. Tell everyone what you are doing and send them a little note: NO CALLS DURING MY WRITING TIME.
  • Since you have a set time for writing, you can also schedule your chores, errands, grocery shopping, and other items on your To-Do List.  

Remember that being an author is like having your own business. Create a working schedule and share that schedule with the “distractions” in your world. 


In a world of microwave dinners, high speed Internet, and instant coffee, people have grown to hate any kind of delays. I’ve stated many times that the publishing industry moves at a snails pace. Literary agents, publishers, marketing agencies, and publicists are overwhelmed with work. They cannot return phone calls and barely have time to type you an email. 

And the biggest delay for any author is to wait for enough success to have a career in writing books. 

Turn things around and use delays to your advantage. 

  • If you submitted a query letter or manuscript and are waiting for a response, start your next book. Remember that career authors write several books. Any kind of delay is an opportunity.
  • While driving and sitting in rush hour, put in a book on CD. Listening to the flow of a novel can be a huge benefit to your writing.
  • While waiting to pick the kids up from school or sitting at the doctor’s office, open a book and read. I can always tell which student will grow up to be an author, because at the bus stop, they are reading instead of texting.
  • If you are stuck in a long line at the grocery store, look around at the other customers. What kind of characters would they make? What if a clown came running in the store with a water gun and sprayed the cashiers. How would everyone react? Delays are a perfect time to stretch your imagination. 


There are certain things that can get on your nerves. As you go farther along in your author career, an ice cube tumbling in a glass will drive you nuts. That is because your attentiveness has increased beyond what non-authors have to endure. Your mind is always searching, thinking, and imagining. 

It can also be frustrating when you receive a rejection letter, a bad review, or you are stuck and no one in the publishing industry cares about what you. 

Do not try to please everyone. 

  • There are hundreds of people that will not like your book. The good news is that there are thousands of people that will love your book!
  • Instead of being frustrated with the rejection process in publishing, figure out what you can do better. (You can improve…right?)
  • Do not be a complainer. When things aren’t going your way that is an opportunity to change course and try something different. You will be amazed at what success you can achieve when things go wrong.
  • I honesty do not believe in bad luck. That theory has saved me from thousands of frustrating moments in my life.
  • Do not let one person in this world steal your joy. If someone frustrates you, do not give them the satisfaction of becoming angry. When your mind is distracted, your author career comes to a slamming halt.
  • Respond to every frustration with a positive twist. That outlook on life will bring peace in your heart and wonderful books from your finger tips. 


If you are frustrated at the end of the day, then you may have wasted your time. If you started writing that book six years ago and cannot finish, then you feel that time has been wasted. 

Maybe you have a book that is published, but it has been four months and you only have three sales. You may wonder why you spent all that time on writing and getting your book out for the world to enjoy? 

Your time may be limited and you are tempted to skip something important. Examples: “I will read and write each day, but I don’t have the time to market or study trends in the publishing industry.” Or, “I just spent a year writing this novel. I’ll have time for one redraft and that is all.” 

  • Take your author career seriously. Reading, writing, marketing, and industry knowledge should be done equally. Redrafts, a query letter, synopsis, and research all take time, but are crucial to your craft.
  • It may take you twenty minutes to find the perfect line in a scene. Use that twenty minutes and be grateful for the time spent on excellence.
  • Spend time encouraging and helping other authors, then watch your career flourish in victory.
  • Do what is most important, given your allotted time during the day. 

The Patient Author 

  • If things go wrong, develop a new perspective. Find a new path and change your viewpoint.
  • Do not limit your goals. For example, “I want to sell 1,000 books this month.” Use smaller, more attainable goals. “I want to reach a total of 1,000 readers, authors, literary agents, and publishers this month.”
  • Learn to understand what others are looking for in a book, rather than what you are looking to do with your book.
  • Understand that you will make mistakes.
  • Others will make mistakes as well.
  • Your writing can always be improved.
  • You cannot control how other people think.
  • Maturity as an author will result in patience.
  • Learn to smile, even when you are having a rough day.
  • While you are smiling, learn to laugh.
  • Encourage others through humor. Here is a joke: “Why are publishers like tile? Because once they lay out your book, they walk all over you.” (Well, I thought that was funny.)
  • Seriously, you cannot love being an author if you are always complaining about the industry.
  • Be thankful that you have a gift to write stories.
  • When your heart is at peace, you will discover patience. 

Distractions, delays, frustrations, and timing can cause the best of us to become impatient. Just remember that the most patient authors have the most faith in their own ability. 

“It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.” Proverbs 16:32

 Ron Knight

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Writing basics for every novel. Check out http://www.jennymilchman.com/blog/?p=1291

How does an author change with each novel? Go to http://blog.atlasbooksdistribution.com/2011/03/10/twelve-novels-a-guest-post-from-ron-knight/

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Ron Knight

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