When patience is a virtue you have no time for

So, I’m trying to grow my hair out.

Oh, brother, I hear you say. What does this have to do with writing?

Hang on, I’m getting there.

Back in 2014, I finally let my hair get long enough to send it off to a charity that makes wigs for kids who are cancer patients. Granted, there was more than a little bit of gray in my hair at that point, but they dye it all anyway, I think.

Anyway, after I got my head buzzed and sent all that hair off to someplace in Langley, B.C., I breathed a huge sigh of relief, because my hair just about drove me crazy. It is not easy to figure out what to do with it, most of the time it was too short to get all of it into a ponytail, and at the least sign of humidity that stuff frizzes like no business.

Reminder, at the time, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia. Is it humid there? A little.

In the grand scheme of things, hair is not a big deal. But the extent to which it about near sent me up the wall reveals one of my character traits—and if I’m honest, one of my character flaws: I am so, so impatient.

As a kid, I got used to hearing people tell me “patience is a virtue you’re short on.” Or was it “short on all virtues”? Maybe I wasn’t listening closely enough. I’m sure they said this out of love. (Let me hang onto that delusion, all right?) I’m sure they were also correct. That Carrie Fisher quote, “Instant gratification takes too long”? Really resonates with me. Could I have been that kid in Willie Wonka who wants everything now now NOW? Well, hopefully I’m not that obnoxious about it. (Maybe.)

When people do ask how the writing for Prophecy Boy is coming, I usually respond with “it’s fine, but I wish I were done because I’m really excited about book three.” And then there’s the other book that I started in November that I want to get back to as well.

I want to do them all at once and I know I can’t do that, so in the back of my head is the voice telling me to get a move on go go GO so I can get it done and focus on the next one.

See? Impatient.

Nothing good ever came from rushing a job, I know that. So I keep trying to talk myself back from the brink and just focus. Sadly, this only works up to a point.

When I need another reminder that rushing gets me nowhere, I do what I always do: Look to other people who are or were, perhaps, smarter and wiser and (most likely) more patient than I am for words of advice:

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” — Benjamin Franklin (and this needs to be updated to less sexist language)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” — Aristotle (here’s hoping the tree survives)

“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” — Molière (cribbing from Aristotle, perhaps?)

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” — Tolstoy

“Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” — Margaret Atwood