Instant Gratification…NOW!


          We live in a world where we expect everything to happen immediately. There’s no waiting involved. The element of surprise and wonder has been replaced with knowledge, which is good, right?
          I remember a time when I would come home and wonder if someone had called me. The wondering was fun, exciting. I could daydream about what the conversation would have been like if I had been home to answer the phone. Maybe he called a hundred times. Maybe just once. He could have without any embarrassment because I wouldn’t have known any better. Those were the days before caller ID.
          Not so much today. We know exactly how many times someone has called because we check the caller ID. We know the exact times. We know if they left a message. We know everything. But where is the wonder? Where is the excitement in knowing?
          We live in a time of instant gratification. We want everything and we want it now. People don’t chat in the checkout line because the customers stomp their feet in protest of having to wait. Get more people behind the registers! Stat!
How many times have we called someone’s home only to roll our eyes when they don’t answer? How could they not be there? We immediately call their cell phones. Still no answer? Send them a text message. Find out if they’re on Facebook. Where could they be? It’s been a whole three minutes!
          Writing is the same way nowadays. We want our stories published and we want it done today. What happened to the times when we waited it out? When we waited for our stories to reach a standard that deserved to be published?
I’m just as guilty as the next person. I want my stories published, and I want those books on the shelves immediately. But am I truly ready? Granted, I have only sent out one query in the last year, but I still expect someone to arrive on my doorstep with a gigantic check, roses and champagne, telling me that my books are the best out there.
          I love to write. I love to create stories in my mind and see them on paper or the computer screen. I love my characters, and they become real to me. But, I gyp them. I create them and love them and wish the best for them, and then I send them on their merry way, far away from me. I certainly don’t like to fix their problems. I don’t like to see the holes in the story. Let’s face it. I don’t like to revise.
          Some masochists out there love to get down and dirty and completely restructure their stories. Some decide to even switch the POV or even move from a first person narrative to the third person. I can’t stand these people. 
          I’m only partly joking. Those are the people who stick with their story and see their characters through their problems together. I’m jealous. That’s the simple truth.

          Part of the problem is wanting to get published right away. And so I give up on the book I just finished and start another one because it’s much easier for me to create new characters and fresh problems than to fix the ones in unrevised books.

          Because we want everything immediately. We want things to be easy. Life shouldn’t be hard. It shouldn’t be complicated. But isn’t making it to the goal more exciting when we hurdle the obstacles?
           It’s sad, really. How much are we missing in a world where we have everything at our fingertips? There’s no time to relax. There’s no time to appreciate life and the world around us because we’re too busy texting someone who hasn’t bothered to call us back after two minutes. We’re too busy complaining about standing in line with three other people to appreciate getting to know a stranger. Maybe that stranger would have become a friend in another time. A less hectic time. A time where we might have been content to wait together.

35 thoughts on “Instant Gratification…NOW!

  1. Good morning, Kim! I have two words for you…power outages. They don’t solve the cell phone dilemma or a well charged laptop, but they do take away a lot of that other stuff enticing us with instant gratification. Oh my gosh, and payday lines at the commissary! That’s another good one. I totally get what you are saying here.

    1. Carlene,
      There are many times where I don’t take my cell phone with me places because I don’t really care who calls. My kids freak out. What if someone needs us? What if it’s important?
      Then, they’ll have to do what I did growing up. Simply call back.
      The other thing that drives me crazy is kids watching videos in a minivan for a ten minute ride. How about playing the alphabet game or fighting over who crossed the invisible line in the car like I did? LOL.

      1. I second that with the DVD players in cars. Even for long trips. Sorry parents out there! I learned geography by studying maps and our atlas. I learned how to passive aggressively annoy my brother by crossing the invisible line. I wrote stories in my journal, listened to my dad’s Paul Simon tape and put words together using license plate letters.

        No DVDs for me. And I turned out relatively normal. Well, kinda….

  2. Kim,
    Great minds! I was thinking about this the other night when my husband and I were discussing whether or not to chance our internet service. Anything less would be too slow of a speed. We have gotten spoiled–not just us but society in general. We strive to make things easier, quicker–and yet, we as people now have to compete and keep up with everything we’ve changed.

    Over the years, I’ve done little things to help slow down–trying to leave for an appointment earlier, not grocery shopping when I’m in a rush to be somewhere and not being a slave to the phone–we do have messaging. I can screen calls.

    Still, the instant gratification is always there (writing) because we know how long and hard we’ve worked on that book. We don’t see the fact that for every one of us–there are at least 100 more out there, too. Patience is a virtue–yeah, whatever. I’ll let you know when my months of waiting pay off. 🙂 In the meantime as Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ would say to us Mermaids–‘Just Keep Swimming!’

    1. Loni,
      I know exactly what you mean. Our society has created a monster that will never be controlled or content. That monster will always want more, and we accommodate so easily that it’s sad.
      The point I was trying to make was that sometimes it’s nicer to wait with others. To form attachments that you might not have made otherwise. Sort of like Waterworld Mermaids. We’re waiting together, but we sure can celebrate when the wait is over for one of us! 🙂 But how much sweeter is the waiting when we’re with others who understand?

      1. You are right about waiting with others. I think I was off on another tangent and got caught up. But waiting is how we learn and learn from others. We might hear something along the way that leads us in the direction we need to go. I’ve learned that, too.

  3. Great post, Kim! I’m guilty as charged on all counts, and I’m also one of those masochists who revised compulsively over a year and a half to the exclusion of everything else–friends, family, kids. Probably wasn’t the healthiest choice, but it paid off in the end.

    Anyhoo, I think it’s my drive to have everything–right now!–that motivates me to create as quickly as I do. I’ve written three novels in the last two years (including the one I rewrote 5 times), and I’m ankle-deep in two more now. I’m kind of glad I’m so impatient. I see it as a personality flaw that serves me well. 🙂

    1. Melissa,
      You must be one of those people I envy! LOL.
      I’m impatient also, but I don’t look at that as such a good thing. Maybe I need to have your positive outlook on that. It does serve me in its own way, but, man, it can make me crazy as well.

  4. You are absolutely right — and I’ve also seen myself fall into the trap of, “well, if it didn’t happen immediately, it’s never GOING to happen.” I don’t even give myself three strikes — if I don’t hit it out of the park on the first try, the temptation to take my bat and my ball and go home is almost overwhelming. My daughter is the same way, and so we have drilled into her head: anything worth doing is going to take practice. It’s easier to dispense that advice than take it, but fortunately, I have good friends who are happy to repeat it until I listen and try again.

    1. Erica,
      Thanks for stopping by! For someone who has TWO, I repeat–two, wonderful books out there right now, I don’t know that you can actually sympathize. LOL.
      I just bought your second one yesterday, and it should be here this week! Hooray!
      But, getting back to the topic of the blog, I know exactly what you mean. I’ve threatened myself to take my bat and ball home so many times. But, then I trudge back out there on the field again. I guess that’s what it means to be a writer sometimes.

  5. I am so guilty of so much of the above. Thank God I’m not alone. As to the revisions, oh I hate that too. They are the ugly slog work of writing, but I still dream of the perfect first draft. Ha.

    1. Ahhh. Yes. The perfect first draft. Who doesn’t want to say that? I want to write my book for NaNo and have it published a month later. LOL.
      You talk a big game, Avery, but I’ve seen how easily you can completely switch a scene! You’re one of the ones I was talking about…..:-) About being jealous of…
      You make it seem so easy I could scream!
      A matter of fact, I think I will. Nobody is home.

  6. Interesting post, Kim. It’s so true – the more convenient things are, the less time we seem to have. I’m on the verge of declaring my weekends smart-phone free. I know I – and maybe some of my family – need some time to disconnect so we can re-connect. Thanks for giving me some great reasons to give it a try.
    And, er, while I’m smart-phone free? I’ll probably be revising. On paper. *s*

    1. Jen,
      I love that disconnecting so we can reconnect! What a great idea. Some people have enough willpower that they can disconnect things when they’re writing, but I don’t. And that’s probably most of my problem. I visit people’s blogs. I answer emails and texts. I surf the net. I’m my own biggest problem apparently. I will disconnect. I will. Just not yet. 🙂

  7. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

    I don’t see what is wrong with wanting to write a perfect first draft in one month’s time, submitting it the next day and then have an editor and/or agent pick you up the day after that. And no revisions in sight. Because I AM PERFECT!!!! And then I would become a best seller and give a seminar at RWA Nationals entitled: Kerri Carpenter, the Perfect Writer!

    No bueno?

    1. Kerri,
      I would love to attend that seminar. I’m sure many people would come just to see this paragon of writing. Or just to see who THINKS they’re perfect. LOL.
      But, I’ll still come. If you buy me a drink…

  8. Love this post, Kim, and it’s such great timing! I’m in the middle of revisions of a beloved manuscript I put in the writerly dungeon almost three years ago. Back then I knew it needed some emotional/character tweaks, but I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle them. But now that I’ve written three YA mss in first person POV, I know how to go deeper into a character’s heart. So I guess I NEEDED the time (three years!) and the practice (three mss!). Hugs!

  9. Shelley,
    Good luck with the manuscript! I’m sure you will make this one just as great as your others. That’s just what I was talking about. Sometimes great things are worth the wait. If you had revised it before you were ready, maybe you wouldn’t have known how to fix the problems.
    Hopefully we’ll soon see another one of your fabulous covers on the shelves like Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe. Love that cover so much!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Kimberly~

    Wow! Great topic and great post. It made my laugh – and think. And that last one’s kinda tough first thing on a Monday morning. LOL.

    I can relate to the whole *I want it now* syndrome with both life and, more importantly, my writing. I’ve learned (kicking and screaming the entire time, mind you) not to take life too seriously. As one of your other guests said, our society is spoiled–in spades we’re spoiled. So I take my time in the checkout. I chat with the person behind me and the checker. In a hurry? Sorry for ya.

    For my writing, I’m the opposite of you. I hate to write, but LOVE to revise. Though fixing the plot holes and digging deeper for emotions ain’t no a picnic. Where’s the challenge if we all wrote the perfect draft the first time? Ah! There’s the rub.

  11. Kim,
    Thank you for writing this post. It was a good kick in the pants for me. 🙂 I’m in the trenches of rewriting a story for the…wait for it…6th time!!! And I about ditched the whole thing over the weekend. Revising sucks. Plain and simple. But unless we’re gifted with the ability to write a best seller with the first draft (does anybody really do that?), it’s a necessary evil.
    The trick is keeping the parts of the story and characters (through every revision and everyone else’s opinions) that make it yours.
    And interestingly enough, during this revision, I’ve fallen even more in love with my characters and believe in the story more than ever–let’s just pray a publisher feels the same way when I’m done. 🙂
    Thanks Kim, for reminding me that the perseverance and all the pain will be worth it in the end. Some things are worth the wait.

    1. Lorie,
      Thanks for stopping by! And I know what you mean about listening to other people’s opinions but keeping the story your own. It’s a struggle for any writer who has critique partners or submits and gets different feedback from agents/editors. It’s a very fine line. Keeping the heart of your characters yet improving on them without taking anything away….there’s the rub.
      Good luck with your revisions! If you love your characters even more this time around, I’m sure publishers will, too.
      And, you’re right. Some things are worth the wait.

  12. Such a great post, Kim! Things move way too fast nowadays. I worry for my kids who are bombarded with all media all the time. Netfix brings them movies on demand, the internet gives them immediate access to everything, cell phones give them constant communication. It’s great but it’s also exhausting. As for your writing, you know I love it–super duper hard. I’m good with you writing the first drafts and letting them sit for awhile as you write the next. Just so long as you revisit them and whip them into shape. You deserve to be published. 🙂

    1. Oh, Lea! You’re so sweet. Thanks so much, and thanks for stopping by to visit.
      I know exactly what you mean about being worried for the next generation. A new batch of never-needing/wanting-to-wait for anything. It’s scary. Especially for when they get into the real world and discover that you still will have to do that. And it’s tougher to handle because in this society we’re not used to waiting for anything anymore.

  13. Great article, Kim! Remember, though, that we always have wanted instant gratification. I am guilty of calling a phone number over and over back in the day. Nowadays that doesn’t always work. Instead, I get an email from my daughter saying, “Yes, we know it’s you b/c it shows up on the TV. Call once and I’ll call you back when there’s time.” Talk about a shame spiral! Sometimes I miss those days when you could nag someone anonymously…

    As far as being impatient in your writing, I am happy to see someone begin something new quickly. Especially if they finished the story they were working on. Learning the craft is a process. How many wonderful authors have we heard bemoan the time they spent on experimental projects? They learned from that – their strengths and weaknesses. Work. Practice. Learn. It’s all part of the process.

    In the meantime, we Mermaids can wait happily together! Always glad to see our friends here in the lagoon…

    1. Susan,
      That was part of my point. We mermaids can wait it out together. It’s so much better to have supportive people around you while you wait. Not that we should be twiddling our thumbs, mind you. We should be learning and growing during that time.
      Yeah. I’m not sure how I feel about my name/number showing up on people’s TVs while they ignore me….LOL.
      See you in the lagoon.

  14. Thanks for the great post Kim! I’m guilty too. I want to write the perfect first draft because I hate revisions. I want to get in the store and get out because I have other places to be and things to do. I too often am rushing around and forget to slow down and smell the roses. But it’s so true that with every mistake, with every failure, we learn. And truthfully, I’ve probably learned more from my failures than I have from my successes, especially the ones I didn’t have to work for.

    1. Dana,
      I know what you mean. Why is it that the memorable lessons in life do come to us as failures first? But, the great thing is that if you learn from them, you grow. I heard recently a great saying about the first time we do something wrong, it’s a mistake. The second time is a choice. Granted, it was for an eleven-year old, but it still holds the same for everyone. Sort of like a “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” type of thing.
      Let’s just hope that we don’t have too many more failures in the lagoon. We’re surrounded with lots of success stories, so it’s all bound to rub off. LOL.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. I like that, the first time it’s a mistake the second time it’s a choice. I try to reinforce with my kids all the time the importance of learning from your failures. I’ll have to add that one to my list of things I chant on an almost daily basis to annoy my kids. 🙂

    1. Oh, Dana,
      If you do have a list of things like that to chant, can you go ahead and email me privately? My oldest is eleven, so I have a feeling I’ll be needing them. A lot.
      With five kids, the odds are good.

  16. Great post, Kim! Quite timely, too. I’m about to start another set of revisions, and this will remind me to take my time with them. I think sometimes we want so much to be DONE that we forget to make sure that our work is GOOD. But what’s the point of being done with a project if it isn’t any good? Much better to take our time and produce something we are really proud of.

    1. I completely agree, P.H. Just take your time and it will work out fine. Seeing as how I’ve read some of your work, I can say that it’s already good! More than good. But I do think it’s sometimes best to wait a bit. To let things simmer. To let things settle in your mind before hurrying to just get FINISHED. Good luck with your revisions. I’m starting mine tomorrow. Hopefully. Unless I need to let it simmer longer. LOL

  17. I don’t know what you’re talking about . . . . I’m perfect! ; )

    I work on slowing down every day. It’s not easy but it does have its own rewards. Thanks for the post.

    1. Robin,
      You probably ARE close to perfect. It’s hard swimming around the lagoon with perfection though. LOL.
      Slowing down is always a good thing. To be able to take a breather and reevaluate things without feeling rushed and stressed. Writing should be joyful not stressful. I think if we get back to that very simple idea, the writing will come much easier.

  18. Hey, Kim!

    Congrats on finishing your book, and good luck with the revision! A little masochistic part of me secretly likes revising. Of course, a bigger part of me would like a publishing deal more — now!

    1. Yep, I was wondering whether my favorite masochist would show up here today, and she did! 🙂 Hello to my wonderful Aussie friend! I don’t know anybody who has loved revising quite like you do. But, having said that, your books get better and better with each change, so you know what you’re doing. Can you just revise mine for me now? Pretty please??? 🙂

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