I always liked those magnets with the saying, "Patience is a virtue I do not possess." The first phrase was written in a flowery cursive font, while the second went bold, red and sans serif.
I know that the wheels of bureaucracy are gigantic, slow and subject to stalling out. I know this.
But that doesn't mean I have to like it.
I could have tried to get my hiking account traditionally published. I could have tried to figure out what publishers might be interested in such a project and done my research and my homework and submitted a manuscript and crossed my fingers. But I didn't have the patience.
For that project, I wanted the now. I didn't want to send it off with hope and hear back a year, or more, later that they didn't want it. Thanks, but no thanks. I wanted a gift for my mother that I could physically send to her as quickly as possible.
Barry Eisler has written on Joe Konrath's blog about publishing being a lottery. He brings up three data points necessary to make a decision on whether to participate (potential payoff, odds and cost of ticket). I think one point that was left out of that consideration was the fact that no one in their right mind would buy a chance for a lotto ticket for an unknown drawing that would be held in six to eighteen months. Don't call us, we'll call you. I think that that blog post leans more toward considering the publishing of a book being equal to buying the lotto ticket, and submitting a manuscript is more like trying to buy a ticket for a drawing to get the privilege to buy a lotto ticket.
Not that self publishing didn't require patience, but it was on my own terms. I had to wait on myself to finish the text, choose and format the pictures. Reformat the pictures...
And I got impatient with myself at times, but I'm okay with that.
There might be other projects where I choose to submit myself to the task of patience with the bureaucracy of traditional publishing, but there might not be.
Honestly, I think I've had enough of bureaucracy for now. I mean, it's been almost six months and I still can't talk about the thing that I can't talk about, because I don't want to jinx it (nothing to do with books, alas).
(Strange what I'll do for nostalgia: I listened to all 54 minutes and 26 seconds of this Daft Punk Random Access Memories remixed with "Everybody to the Limit (Come on Fhqwhgads)" even after I realized that it was the same song remixed into every song on the album... it was hypnotically repetitive. I'm listening to it again right now...)
Patience is a virtue on which I am running seriously low.