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Write On!
Patience Power
By Ken Robinson
May, 2006, 15:25

know you donít want to hear this and that you canít wait to get to the next mesmerizing IN article, but youíre going to have patience.

See, thatís what I mean. Your first thought was, ďWhat does patience have to do with writing. I already have patience. I havenít killed my (insert one of the following here: spouse, child, roommate, sibling, neighbor from hell, televangelists, politician) have I? Even though they do deserve it. They make it impossible to get a minutes peace.Ē

Get ready. Itís going to get worse. Iím going to go all Zen and metaphysical here on you as well. One reason to be patient is to relieve some stress in your life. If you can accomplish this you will enjoy life much more and live longer while enjoying it. Thatís a win-win! Stress is moving right up there with obesity as the biggest killer in the U.S. And stress can help promote obesity so...

Back to patience. Iíll give you one heads up ó donít wish for patience. Donít pray for it either, just do it. When you wish or pray for it, itís not going to be magically bestowed upon you from above. What happens to me is that Iím placed in a situation where I have to learn patience.

And I donít mean I sit and read about it. Iím pushed way out of my comfort zone and thereís nothing I can do about it. I have to sit there and twiddle my thumbs until itís over. Or more likely, I blow my top and look like an idiot when the dog walks by, tickles my ankle, and I go ballistic. I usually find out if I couldíve held on a little longer I wouldnít have had to make the dog cry. The powers that be decide when the slow drip of growing frustration comes to an end. No fun whatsoever. I quit asking for it a long time ago.

Patience can mean a lot of different things. It can mean taking the time to learn your fundamentals. This is always important and will continuously be pointed out to you. So have a little patience with us when you get fed up hearing about it.

And then thereís the Zen bit. Having patience to wait for things to fall into place and the right doors to open is very important. Personally I donít believe in luck or coincidence. I think doors open for everyone but if youíre not looking for them and prepared to walk through it when it opens the door doesnít exist for you. If you havenít taken the time to learn your craft that open door to the editors or producerís office is a black hole of rejection when they read your material and it isnít up to par.

We all think that weíre there when dear old grandma reads your stuff and says, ďThatís lovely dear.Ē But most of us get a rude awakening when we dress our baby up and send it out into the real world where it inevitably gets devoured by the hordes of rejection letters that attack it. Itís a sobering experience but a big part of the learning curve we all go through. Rejection stinks but it can be used as a reality check.

Patience is such a linchpin in being successful. One of the biggest hushed up secrets out there is that itís not necessarily the most talented people who get published or sold; itís those who persist and donít give up. The most gifted writer in the world, who gives up, will never be known as the worlds most gifted writer because nobody ever read their work because it was never done.

The gatekeepers of the written word to the masses (editors and producers) do not always get it right. There was a small experiment where the script of Casablanca was sent out to production companies under a different name. Out of the group only one person figured out it was Casablanca ó all the others rejected it. Last year's Passion Of The Christ was passed over by every Hollywood studio as they knew it wouldnít make money. It was such a flop it only made a few hundred million dollars. Most first time novelists best sellers were passed over and over and over before they became overnight successes.

Even though youíve written the best thing since sliced bread, patience will keep it from being toast.

Donít give up! Write on.IN Icon

Regular IN columnist Ken Robinson grew up and lives in Oklahoma. After five years in Ireland, he's been writing screenplays for three and a half years. Four of his scripts have been optioned by Woofenil Works, two low-budget projects now in preproduction, as well as West Law. His email address is:




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