Martial arts are a lesson in patience. It took me two years to reach First Brown (the second level of brown belt, just before black) when I was in Tae Kwon Do, and that was with an intensive practice schedule for the last six months.
Then I injured my shoulder, my husband got his black belt without me, and we moved out of town.
After moving back to Virginia, we signed up for Kung Fu with a former instructor who’d opened his own school. Two years later, we’ve graduated to red sash. It’ll probably take at least another year or two to reach black.
You cannot rush the skills.
Writing is the same way. When I first started writing, I wanted to get published with my second manuscript, less than a year after I’d started writing. I was ready.
I would have been like a white belt trying to spar with black belts. The likely result: a sound pummeling.
The more I learn about the writing business, the more relieved I am that I didn’t get published back then. I’m choosing to be grateful for the extra time to hone my craft; find my best method for planning/writing a manuscript; form a support network of other writers; and learn about agents, publishers, and the industry.
And when I earn my writing black belt (pubbed in fiction), I’ll understand that it merely means I’ve mastered the basics. There’s always more to learn, more to master. Another level to reach for.
I just need the patience to work and wait for it.