Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Patience and Belated Significant Other Blogfest!

Sometimes I get more frustrated at myself than I ever would at another person. In fact, I make excuses for people all the time. Oh, he's had a lot going on. She's really busy. They did not mean for that to be hurtful.

But with myself, none of these are sufficient. I become very impatient with my writing. I set deadlines---which is great---but become disappointed when they are not met. I become dismal when the
editing seems endless or when others ask me why my book is taking so long.

But here's the thing.
Everything in life takes a lot of time. Today, one of my professors told us that medicine is an art. We learn the mechanics of the art now but we will never truly know everything about it. I will spend years in school and training and still not know it all.

Then I thought about all of the relationships near to my heart. They took time to cultivate and require continuous effort.
So, why should writing be any different? I need to be better about viewing this time as the essential practice that it is instead of becoming frustrated by mile markers.

Tell me, do you ever become impatient with yourself and/or the writing process? Who gives you perspective when you're getting in your own way?

When I am struggling with this, the one person who infuses me with perspective is Samir. He has dealt with all of my writing (and other) mishaps with a steadfast patience. Here are his thoughts on the process:

(And P.S. Check out the other significant other blog entries from Talli, Sangu,and Alex!)

About a year ago, when my beautiful singer-dancer-med-student-and-now-author girlfriend Saumya started writing her first novel, I had no idea what to expect. As she knew, writing to me meant figuring out how to condense the 3 year strategy of a company into 5 bulletpoints that could fit onto 1 powerpoint slide. I thought that maybe this lack of writing knowledge and experience would preclude me from much participation in her writing journey. Little did I know that she would actually be taking me along for the whole ride, and some of my fondest memories of the year would revolve around this. I can remember when…

...she started developing her first ideas. She is a very good observer and knows human nature and interactions more than anyone I know. Somehow, she could process all of this and call me with a new and compelling idea every other day. In fact, she could probably fill up a whole bookshelf of novels with her great ideas!

…the first paragraphs were formed. Though it sometimes required extended begging on my part, she would always send snippets to me. I would be so excited to read them and would usually call her within five minutes to offer my praise…as well as my ‘expert’ opinion. For some reason, she always patiently listened to me, even though most of my ideas were ludicrous!

…she would pull out her phone in the middle of many of our conversations. I would proceed to get mad at her for texting someone else while talking to me, and she would proceed to show me that she was actually taking notes on her phone about ideas for the book. I quickly learned that the best ideas often came at the most random times!

I would get mad at her for not sleeping and instead tip-tapping away at her computer. Never tell an author (especially a night owl like her) the words ‘you should go to sleep’. One time, she even tried to close her computer, jump into bed, and pretend she was already asleep when I groggily asked her why she was still writing at 5am!

the characters starting becoming a part of her life and a part of our conversations. We oftentimes discussed them more than we discussed the ‘real’ people in our own lives! They became so real that at some point I'm sure I've tried to search and friend them on Facebook.

…she started her 1st rewrite. And her 2nd. And her 3rd. Then came my ah-ha moment…this is why it takes so long to write these things!

…the phrase “query letter” became a normal part of my language. And I thought my cover letters for job searches were hard to write!

…she started hearing positive feedback from the first agents. I was so excited for her, especially because it gave me a good excuse to take her out for a well deserved night out on the town! No but really...there are few things that make her that happy (and therefore make me very happy!)

I could go on-and-on (anyone who knows me knows that brevity is not my forte), but will instead share one more recent revelation. Unlike some of the other significant others' posts that I've read, writing this novel has actually brought Saumya and I closer than ever. That makes me a very lucky -- and very proud -- man.


  1. Ha! I love the line "never tell an author they should go to sleep", so, so true! I'm a fellow night owl, early mornings just about kill me. :-)

  2. aren't we all our own worst and harshest judge and jury?? sadly, i think, yes.

  3. Why, yes! Seems I battle these things regularly! The thing that is actually working for me as of late is that if I've done something--anything in a day with my writing, it IS something and a move in the right direction. It's not coming fast, but it is coming along! Take care, cbm

  4. that's a writer passion to die for..

  5. I like your point about all writing being practice. You hear it a lot but it's so easy to forget that with writing (as with many things) the journey is at least as important as the destination. And I actually said 'aww' reading what Samir had to say about how your writing has affected him/your relationship. You sound like a good team!
    - Sophia.

  6. I'm so glad to hear that writing brought you two closer together! That's wonderful.

  7. I may or may not have had a major "Awwwww" moment while reading that. I currently have no signifacant other, but now my next one is in deep trouble. I've seen this is possible (thank you. Now, I must set off to find my next victim. ;o)

  8. What a wonderful couple! And what a lovely post for Samir to have written. I'm glad you have such a supportive man by your side.

  9. Aw, same for you Talli! Haha, thanks for the "Awws" everyone!

  10. That is a such a beautiful story! It's wonderful that he is so supportive.

    And believe me, I definitely know what you mean... I think we're always our worst critics though :)

  11. This post has definitely put me in the "aw" group. It was so lovely, and Samir is also an excellent writer.

  12. Hang in there. And keep writing. Dedication, chops, and luck will get you where you want to be. Of course, support along the way is priceless.

  13. Samir sounds wonderful! He's so supportive and proud of you:). He's definitely an awesome man to have by your side!

  14. I become impatient all the time, but like you said everything takes time.

  15. what a beautiful post Saumya! He sounds like a wonderful man :) It's great that he is apart of the journey with you.

    exciting times- back to med school! good on you!

    i know that when im getting in my own way i usually turn to you guys- the blogosphere is one of my favourite ways to find myself again, i feel like we're all in it together.

    ugh i never listen to anyone who says "gee how long does it take?" as they clearly have never tried to write a book and therefore cannot pass judgement haha :)

    good luck with everything! go 2011!

  16. Nothing, just sulk and move on with what one has to do, wants to do:)

  17. You're so right, Ali! I've missed you, lady <3
    Neha, word! Haha.

  18. That is such a beautiful post. I love when the significant others write a guest post about their spouses... Mine had written one too (Not trying to take over your post but I feel like sharing that)

    Good luck with your writing, lady! And OMG yes! You've Got Mail is one of my fave movies. "I wanted it to be you so bad..." *sigh*