Years ago there was a psychological study in which children were given a marshmallow and told that if they waited a short period of time to eat it they could have two marshmallow. Years later it was determined that the two marshmallow kids, the ones who could delay gratification, were more successful in life. This was a good discovery but what does it mean for us in day-to-day life?
As I write this I’m actually working on no less than three books.
The first is a novel. I’m finishing up the pre writing stuff (character sketches, where is it on the map, and a (basic and subject to change) outline).
The second is also a novel. I’m at the point where there may be changes that need to be made, but I’ve worked on it enough that I can’t see them. This one is at the point that peer readers and editing people are really what’s needed.
The third is a non-fiction book that was supposed to be out in E-book tomorrow… they just got the proofs back to me today…
I can see the finish from here…
The third book looks great except for five little errors in formatting that don’t work out the way I want them. I have a choice. I could just approve the proof, get the book out on time, and live with it; or I could send in a correction order for the changes that need to be made.
I really want to have this done. I want the book to be out and selling (making money and getting to say “Hey first book of the year is out!” are good things). I also want the book to be the best it can be. The errors are going to reflect on me and people may feel like I’m not as good as I really am because I let the errors slip.
It’s a delayed gratification question. Sure having the errors fixed moves the publication date to the middle of next week, but it makes it a better book. I don’t get to say it’s out tomorrow, but it’ll be a better book and really doesn’t hurt me in the larger goal of having two books out this year. No one is really waiting for the book that can’t wait a couple more days (I didn’t take any prepaid sales and I don’t have any events planned until after Mother’s day anyway…). I have to make the best decision for me and my book even if it means waiting just a little longer.
I really want these things out and being read… but…
The same thing applies with the second book. I want to go ahead and start sending stuff off. But it is of greater benefit to have some other eyeballs on it before I do; so that it can be the best book it can be. It’s the start of a series. There’s a lot of future good that comes from choosing the best path and a lot of harm that can come from an impulsive move.
Before I do that, it’s a good idea to make sure I’ve protected myself copyright wise… I trust my friends but there are people to not trust out there and an ounce of protection can save a lot of headaches in the long run.
Seeing where I’m going before I get there…
The book I’m finishing the pre writing stuff for is a clear shot ahead. This one I’ve taking the time to figure out where I’m going and the foreseeable problems along the way. There’s no real point in delaying gratification, because I’ve already done it. It’s at a point that I can run free and have fun and so I will. I just have to be conscious of where I need to stop and check and take appropriate steps.
The secrets of making dreams come true (well one of them)
Everyone (or almost everyone) likes that immediate gratification. It can be nice to give yourself a project that you can have immediate gratification on. But you need to be aware you need to recognize where things are at and make the best possible choices. Sometimes that means going right now. Sometimes that means delaying gratification and making things or situations better before you take that gratifying step.
Sadly, not all of our choices are a good option versus a bad one. Sometimes it is two good choices and we have to choose the best. Sometimes it’s two less attractive choices and we have to choose the least bad.
Part of growing and learning dear reader is knowing when to delay gratification and when to plunge on ahead. It’s not easy but it is necessary.
That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time…
May all your choices be good, and your marshmallows be tasty!