Writing is a long process that is hard to complete. I think all writers can agree on that.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s a long path to walk, and you don’t see results very quickly.
And guess what? Once you’ve finally written enough to see results, you look back at what you wrote, and now that you’ve become a better writer through writing it, you don’t even like it anymore.
‘Tis a tragedy.
So why do we still write?
Instant Gratification VS Delayed Gratification
Gratification. According to my dictionary, this means:
noun; pleasure, especially when gained from the satisfaction of a desire.
There are actually two types of gratification. There’s Instant, and there’s Delayed.
Instant Gratification is when people feel happiness in the now. They are instantly rewarded for something and feel happy because of it.
Delayed Gratification is when people delay the gratification and wait for it instead.
Which one is better?
The Marshmallow Test
Have you ever heard of the Marshmallow Test?
Children were left in a room with a marshmallow. They were told that, if they didn’t eat it, when the adult came back, they could have two instead. Some just popped it in their mouth right after the adult left – instant gratification. Some walked around that table, studying the marshmallow from all angles before giving in. But others just refused to look at that marshmallow till the adult came back in – delayed gratification.
Get this: the kids that delayed their gratification actually went on to do better in life.
They had the will to delay their gratification, and in life, this seemed to make all the difference.
Society and Instant Gratification
We live in a society where people have a short attention span. They want to feel happy in the now. People don’t like working on things like writing, music, or a business because there’s hardly any instant gratification. Instead, it’s long days and nights – years, even – without getting any gratification.
Everyone is encouraged to chase their dreams, to work hard, and yet, so many people let themselves get distracted by things that are instantly gratifying. TV, video games, and social media are some examples.
I am not exactly saying that any of those are bad. But they can be distracting. They can even completely derail us from our path to success sometimes.
While everyone says that we should work hard, many people actually do the opposite. They go for that marshmallow now instead.
Writers and Instant Gratification
The thing about writing is that there is no instant gratification.
So many young writers give up because they don’t see any immediate results. They think they should instantly be writing best-selling novels within the first draft.
And when that doesn’t happen… they don’t keep going. They give up.
A draft is meant to be shaped, over and over. It will not be perfect the first time around. That is why there is rewriting and editing.
But since that instant gratification is not there, many people will just give it up.
Side note: don’t confuse delayed gratification with misery. If you are completely and utterly miserable while writing a book, then you might want to check out this post here.
Many writers won’t feel gratified – that pleasure – from their writing because it is not at the level that they want it to be. They don’t have the skills necessary to reach that level yet. They’re still learning.
And that’s almost a beautiful thing.
So weird of me to say after the darkness of the first half of this post, I know. But think of it this way:
The writer is by nature a dreamer – a conscious dreamer.Carson McCullers
Writers dream. And they dream so big that their skills are not up to par with these dreams.
They dream beyond the realm of reality. They go out of the box, transcend the rules of the mind, and create worlds. They dream so big, and that is why a writer can never feel instant gratification.
Because what they see in their head is better than what their hands can create right now.
And that’s a beautiful thing, that their dreams are bigger than their reality.
If they can wait and delay that gratification, they can eventually feel pride over their work. Because hard work will eventually get their skills up to par, and then they’ll finally be able to share those dreams that were too big for reality itself with others.
Dreamers can be the hardest people to please, but readers and writers are especially difficult. To them, imagination is better than reality. They can always imagine something better. But if you can delay your gratification, then, someday, you’ll be able to look at your writing with satisfaction.
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Have you ever heard of instant and delayed gratification?
How big do you dream?