“Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.”
Ben must have been reading my mind. Right now I’m wrapping up a project and I’m very tempted to rush through to the end of it. I’ve set a deadline for myself, which I often do to keep myself on target, but it looks like it’s going to fall by the wayside. I’m very tempted to stick with it, but I’m going to resist. If I keep going steadily, I’ll be within striking distance of my target date and I’m going to be content with that. In a word, I’m going to be patient.
“Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.” Ponder this a minute and you’ll see that it’s strikingly similar to Thomas Edison’s words of wisdom, which I have emblazoned on a card by my desk: “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Ah, patience! Who among us has enough of it? What writing project wouldn’t benefit if we schooled ourselves to bring more of this precious elixir to the page? Patience! A few gems from my handy Century Dictionary reveal its treasures: “calm and uncomplaining endurance,” “forbearance or tolerance,” “patient willingness to wait,” “quiet perseverance.” These words are peppered with a few others like “long-suffering,” but we’ll let that slide.
So what do we have here? “Calm,” “uncomplaining,” “endurance,” “tolerance,” “willingness to wait,” and “quiet perseverance.” I don’t know where you are in the project you’re working on right now, but I’d bet that bringing any or all of these qualities to the page will improve your output — it’s certainly true on my end.
Let’s take calm: “A relaxed mind is a creative mind” — that’s my all-time favorite Yogi teabag quote. When we’re calm and relaxed, new ideas come to us.
“Endurance” — we all know that writing is an “endurance sport” and that bringing staying power to our work is key to getting it done.
“Tolerance” — mmm, this word is loaded. I’m not sure about you, but often my tolerance level for dealing with a tough problem on the page isn’t that high. Memo to myself: Work on this!
A “willingness to wait.” Memo to myself: Work on this, too!
And finally, “quiet perseverance” — this says it all, doesn’t it? Quietly, uncomplainingly keeping on, confident that as we give our work time to enrich itself and ripen, it will be better, deeper,
Our boy Ben was a wise fellow with an eye for the long game, so I’m going to take him at his word and add more patience to my day. How about you? Write on!