Monday, May 19, 2014

Hard Work + Patience Versus Instant Gratification?



I subscribe to the hard work + patience = success school of thought. The idea of becoming an expert the old-fashioned way still appeals to me. But for the instant gratification generation? No thanks. They want to be ahead from the start. More often than not, they are not too certain what they want, but they know when they want it. Immediately. Pronto.

Due to technological advances, everything has become faster and more accessible. Instant gratification has permeated all layers of society. It’s now the primary way of life. We now gratify many of our needs with just an internet enabled device. A perfect example is the one-click ordering via Amazon. In this world of rapid change, fast turnover and quick fixes, the self-publishing and e-book revolution means that anyone can now write and publish a book. 

But in the “rush” to become a “published author” can a writer really deliver a high quality product? Maybe. It’s not impossible. Many have accomplished this. Thousands of e-books flood the market every year. I’m wondering, how well have these books sold? And is there a realistic way of telling good self-published novels from bad? But I suppose the notion of “good and bad quality” is arbitrary...

What about the controversial rule that states, in a nutshell, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate focus to become proficient at something. Where does it fit in? If we do the maths, forty hours per week over five years equals ten thousand hours. But who has so much time available to devote to writing (unless you are a full time writer)? In short, to become a really successful writer, you have to work your butt off. It requires determination, perseverance and patience. Forget instant rewards or instant success.

No matter which publishing route you take, at some point you have to ask yourself:  why am I publishing? To add the title “published author” to your credentials? To sell books? To connect with people? Remember, words written for commercial value will fade away. Words written with passion can make a lasting impression!
                                                                       
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Some important news: The IWSG Facebook group has reached the 1,000 member mark!  Congratulations!

Just a reminder about the Facebook guidelines:

Since the focus of the IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSGers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some may lurk for a long time before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.

Saturday is also the day when we tweet each others' news. Look out for the 'tweety bird' and add your pre-written tweet to the thread. Feel free to tweet for others.

Thanks for your co-operation!

45 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Five years to become good at something? Since most of us don't have the hours to spare, that means it takes longer.
And awesome IWSG Facebook is at a thousand members now!

Trisha F said...

I think this post helps me right now because it tells me I shouldn't rush. But at the same time I do actually need to work faster than I have been, because I haven't really been doing much of anything writing-related lately. Not good!

kaykuala said...

The good thing about writing is, it is emotions and hard-work combined to hone the skills. Now another element, the time factor as a variable puts it into a different ball game.One needs to write and read to come up with something. Since facilities are available it is a matter of systems go and time management thrown in. Half a year gone and nothing to show! It's pathetic and afflicting many. Well there is still time enough though! Something's got to give maybe something small a short story, perhaps for starters!

Hank

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Too many rush and their work suffers as a result.

cleemckenzie said...

Congrats to IWSG for their 1000 followers. Someone should find Gary soon with everyone searching.

I'm in the slow, but steady camp when it comes to publishing. I don't want my name on something that I'll be ashamed of later. Some writers are just better at "fast." I'm not.

Chrys Fey said...

I've learned that patience is key to writing and publishing. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

When I think of the years I struggled before publication I do wonder if writers are more likely to rush into self publication now since it's easier.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

When I think of the years I struggled before publication I do wonder if writers are more likely to rush into self publication now since it's easier.

Lexa Cain said...

I totally agree about our society changing. People want things NOW! I also think writers are rushing to publish because they can. It's a hard lesson when negative reviews come in and the book's not selling. I'm firmly in your camp: Hard Work + Patience = Success. (Now if I could just find some of that elusive success...) Great post!

Jemi Fraser said...

Agreed. There's nothing wrong with working hard and waiting for success! I've been at it for a little over 5 years and I know I'm not ready to publish yet! :)

Morgan said...

SUCH a fabulous post, Michelle. Loved. And I love your thoughts on WHY we do this. I know I'm definitely in it for the long haul, no matter how many hours I have to put in. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

All of what you said is absolutely true. I especially love your parting words on what lasts. Luck is where opportunity meets hard work. Keep on showing up to the page (and off!) and you will find success.

Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent post with great points to ponder.

Christine Rains said...

Great post! I completely agree. Sometimes it's hard not to push and rush, but the rewards for being patient are much greater.

J.L. Campbell said...

Good questions, Michelle. Thanks for the reminders.

J.L. Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cortney Pearson said...

Love this reminder. The rush and demand for immediacy are definitely one of those bittersweet issues we deal with in many aspects of life, and especially writing! It's one reason I've been uncertain of self-published work in the past because many times the quality hasn't seemed to be quite where it could be. But there are those who do take the time and it really shows! It's so important to do our very best (cliche Mom phrase, I know, but so true!). Great post!

Lynda R Young said...

Another great post, Michelle.
Everything worth having in life takes time to nurture.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Excellent post, Michelle...

SO true, and artist needs to put in this years to produce quality work. Look at the old masters. They would be apprentice for YEARS AND YEARS to learn their beautiful technique to paint or sculpt.

Same hold true to writers. I can see how my own writing has improved a thousand fold since I wrote my first novel four years ago. We need to hone and perfect to produce a quality story.

We need to stay focused and absorb life, to be able to write about it. All this takes time ...

Annalisa Crawford said...

Very well said. Slow and steady aren't bad words, although lots of people treat them as such.

Lara Lacombe said...

Putting in the work is never easy, especially when so many other aspects of life have a more immediate return. It's worth it, though!

Tina said...

I'm certainly taking my time, though not really on purpose, it's just turning out that way ;-)
Thanks for this well-written reminder that we do need to take our time and be deliberate about what we do.
Tina @ Life is Good
On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

Shell Flower said...

After five years of hard work, I might just self-publish because now my work is being rejected due to subject matter, not quality. I've had agents tell me they love my story, but it's too edgy.

celinejeanjean.com said...

A very thoughtful and thought provoking post. I totally agree on the importance of taking your time, on slowly learning your craft and improving.

Understanding why you're publishing a book is important too, it makes all the difference to do it for the right reasons rather than for any misguided attempts at fame or fortune.
It's always great to hear from other writers with this mindset, it means quality books will always continue to be produced!

Elise Fallson said...

Spot on Michelle, spot on. :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Alex, so it's probably gonna take me a total of about 8-10 years?

Trisha, you are a consistent writer with about 10 completed WIPs plus countless other projects; you've already accomplished so much, how do you know when you're rushing/not rushing...?

Hank, writing a short story for starters... a great idea.

L.Diane, I don't want to fall into that category.

C.Lee, slow but steady wins the race... maybe I'll get to that finishing line in about 5 years time... LOL

Chrys, I do agree!

Susan, well I still have to put in those "struggling years", so I'll be old and grey when I eventually publish...

Lexa, you've done well! I'm sure the success is on it's way.

Jemi, you obviously have "staying power", so you're on track!

Morgan, you have the right spirit and attitude. You'll get there! No doubt about it...

Mary, yes, playing on the page and off the page... provides balance...

Carol, thanks! *waving*

Christine, you're a prolific writer with tons of experience under your belt, so I'm sure you've learned to pace everything...?

Joy, I imagine you have the pacing factor down to a fine art...? Am I right?

Cortney, I use that Mom-phrase everyday in the classroom!

Lynda, thanks... yes, they say that anything worth having is worth the wait.

Michael, "absorb life" triggers some ideas for my editing...

Annalisa, I sometimes feel a sense of urgency... as if time is passing me by... but I AM in the slow and steady category.

Lara, instant rewards seems to be a primary way of life these days... but at what cost?

Tina, I think I'm in that same boat... it's turning out that way for me too.

Shell Flower, my thinking is, if the quality is good, then there shouldn't be a problem...?

Michelle Wallace said...

Celine, the learning never stops, does it?

Elise, thank you!

Sherry Ellis said...

You definitely have to have your heart in your writing to persevere through all the challenges!

Emily R. King said...

Awesome thoughts, Michelle. I agree that hard work and patience lead to success. If the quality of our work suffers because we're in a hurry, it's time to slow down!

Tammy Theriault said...

This is exactly why I'm not beating myself up to get my baby book done. Then it'll just be crap and the agents say "send us your best". So I shall!!

Michelle Wallace said...

Sherry, you have to have a heart... and stomach for this game!

Emily, quality IS king!

Tammy, you may be crazy, but you're also smart!

Empty Nest Insider said...

It's so true how you have to be passionate about your writing. I don't think that there really is a magic number for the quantity of time spent; though quality time makes a huge difference.

Julie

Suze said...

Michelle, you write such thoughtful posts here. I always enjoy reading them.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

A very important post, Michelle. Thanks. If a new writer abides by your advice, they will save themselves so much disappointment and pain.

Pk Hrezo said...

I definitely think some pub too soon, but readers can tell. I believe buyers can make good choices tho. It's why you can sample an ebook to know if the writing and story are decent. So in that respect, altho some is cheap, it doesn't have to be bought, which should tell the author something.
But I agree totally that in general as a society we want that instant gratification. Especially Americans.

M Pax said...

I wrote for many years before I began publishing. I felt I was ready. I don't think because a book doesn't sell means it's not good. It just means it hasn't been discovered yet. Lots of books I think aren't good sell quite well. Maybe that means I have bad taste. lol

Crystal Collier said...

That sounds about right. I've been writing since I was ten, but took a short break around getting married, and there are still so many things to learn...

The Desert Rocks & Intangible Hearts said...

I'm all about hard work but I don't like to remind myself that I'm insecure. Have a great day!

Medeia Sharif said...

Many people do want things instantly. I find that even though I write fast today, it's because of all the hours I put in writing horrible drawer manuscripts years ago.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent post. I don't so anything fast and good. I know there are writers who can publish a book a month, but I'm not one of them and I've stopped thinking I have to fit that mold because I write and publish because I love it. It's my bliss.

Michelle Wallace said...

Julie KP, quantity versus quality is something to ponder...

Suze, thank you and congrats once again on the wonderful news!

Joylene, you have so much experience under your belt, so you will know.

PK, rapidly advancing technology feeds the instant gratification lifestyle... and I wonder where it will end...?

Mary Pax, LOL. It just proves that "good and bad books" is subjective. It boils down to personal taste.

Crystal, from the age of 10? Why am I not surprised... and it means you have loads of experience...

Eve, I also put on a brave front... try to dismiss the insecurity factor...

Medeia, I'm sure those "horrible drawer manuscripts" have a few nuggets hidden somewhere...?

Elizabeth, yes, you have to do what works for you... every path is unique.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

You're so right, Michelle. Sadly there are too many bad and unedited e-books out there. Having said that, it's great that good authors have a chance not to be at the mercy of some big publishing houses.
But in the end a writer's hard work and passion pay.

Rachna Chhabria said...

You are right, Michelle, it takes a lot of dedication to succeed at something. Five years working hard to become proficient at something is not for the faint-hearted or the easily discouraged person.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - we need to persevere and we're lucky today that we have access to the internet and thus many support groups ... but I reckon the writers here in this blogosphere must be the best ... and the IWSG postings seem to really help people ... great advice and great support ..

Cheers Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

Corinne, hard work & passion... absolutely... and perseverance too!

Rachna, yes, you have to be in it for the long haul.

Hilary, it seems like the online writers who are part of our circle, are the most supportive group of people in cyberspace... and remember these are people who've never met one another (most of them)