The virtue of patience

Last night, I’ve discovered I would have to rework the entire first chapter of my memoir. I started my first chapter right when I found the bump, but failed to tell my readers anything else about what my life was like at the time. I was in third grade when I first found it, so my CP wanted me to think about adding more information about where I went to school, my daily life in the classroom, what I enjoyed about school, and who my friends were. Because I already knew about the bump when I was 8, she also wanted me to talk a bit about why I didn’t mention it to my friends at the time. Was I scared? Embarrassed by having a medical condition? Or did I simply think because I was young I was invincible and nothing bad would ever happen to me? Including the answers to these questions at the beginning of my novel would give it a some more substance. I realized she was absolutely right.

I have to admit, I was a little bit taken aback when I was told I should rework this first section. It would take some time and effort, and I wasn’t sure how much time I would be able to devote to it (after all, I am a busy college student). However, that’s the beauty of a good CP- someone who is able to read your work and then offer feedback. In my case, the feedback was that I need to change a lot of things in my piece. Changing these things requires being patient and understanding change takes time. As a society, it would be fair to say we generally do better when we receive things instantly- we want it now! But with writing, that’s simply not possible. We can’t expect our writing to be perfected in a day, or even a few days, because writing is a complex and time-consuming art. Without being patient, we can’t realize how beautiful the art of writing is.


Filed under: Memoir, Writing, cancer

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