Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The most important ingredient for becoming published

They are remaking the movie The Karate Kid. I saw the previews and have high hopes for it. To begin with it is set in China with sweeping vistas and wonderful exotic culture. Next Jackie Chan stars. I love Jackie Chan for his sense of humor and his physical acting. Finally Jaden Smith, Will Smith's son is the boy. I love that they picked him for the film. The visual in the previews is gorgeous. Instead of "wax on, wax off." If is now "jacket on, jacket off."
How does this relate to writing and what is the most important ingredient necessary to becoming published? Patience.
Remember the wax on, wax off scene was about the student's impatience with the mundane. Why, he wanted to know did he have to do this? What did it have to do with learning karate?
To create a publishable work you have to have patience. The patience to practice. The patience to edit. The patience to wait for the right story. The right story must have heart. It must touch the reader on a personal level. But it also must be clean. Think of editing and craft as the boring wax on, wax off part of writing. To be a good writer you have to have the patience to revise and practice craft until it becomes part of the muscle memory. In order to create muscle memory, you have to practice every day. That's why they say butt in chair will get it done. Long years of practice and patience will get you published. When you finish one book start another, and another. My 15th 500-page manuscript was the first one published and then only after it was cut from 500 down to 250 pages. Wax on...wax off.
I saw this great status on Facebook the other day- I regret that I didn't write down who wrote it. If you know, please let me know. Here it is:
A student asked a great sensei, "How long does it take to become a Kung Fu master?" The Sensei thought for a moment and answered, "With great patience and practice ten years." The student frowned. "Ten years! That is too long. I will immerse myself in Kung Fu. I will practice 14 hours a day. I will live, eat and sleep it. I will focus my whole being. I swear--non-stop. Now how long will it take me to become a Kung Fu master?" The sensei sipped his tea and let the silence surround them for a long moment then answered. "Twenty years."
What is the difference? Patience. I'm often asked, "Nancy, I've written a book, how can I get it published and in bookstores?" The answer is with patience and practice and the best of luck. Cheers~


Marilyn Brant said...

You wrote: "To be a good writer you have to have the patience to revise and practice craft until it becomes part of the muscle memory."

I love this! And YES!!! Thanks for expressing it so well, Nancy. :)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. lol. I'm still working on the muscle memory. :) cheers~

L. Diane Wolfe said...


BTW - I was skeptical of this remake until I saw it was a complete deviation from the original.

Anita said...

Patience and practice...OK, I'm getting loads of it. I'll let you know if it works!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi L. Diane, the previews look fabulous. I'm hopeful for the movie.

Hi Anita, patience and practice seem like bad words, don't they? :)Didn't it take something like 15 years for Pride and Prejudice to get published?

I wish you all the best of success in your writing!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’m not usually a Kung Fu type movie person but I might make an exception for this one. It’s so true, if there is one thing I have learned as a writer, it’s patience.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by. It think the writing biz beats patience into us. lol

Ashley Ladd said...

Patience, practice, and diligence. Never give up. Keep working at whatever it is you want to learn.

I used to be a mediocre to bad typist. I got B's and C's in high school. I was lucky to type 50 wpm with a ton of mistakes. Now I type 95 wpm with very few mistakes. Writing has taught me how to type. :) And hopefully, how to write well, too.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Ashley,

I'm a better typist, too! :) Thanks for stopping by.

sanjeet said...

I love this! And YES!!! Thanks for expressing it so well,
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