By: Marilyn L. Davis
“How often is not the prospect of future happiness thus sacrificed to one’s impatient insistence upon an immediate gratification.” ― Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
I Want It Now!
We live in the world of immediate gratification. We consume instant foods, driving our car through to get rations for the day. If we don’t receive a response to our text within a minute, we send a question mark to the recipient, demanding that they pay attention to us —now.
The year that the microwave came out, my father told me that this invention would be the death of patience in our country. I laughed and said that this would give people more time to spend with family and revolutionize cooking as we could have food on the table in five minutes instead of two hours. He replied that this was exactly his point.
Did I honestly think that five minutes of unattended cooking would produce the same quality as a few hours spent tasting, stirring, and adjusting the spices in a dish? I had to admit that the results were sometimes fast, but not flavorful. Unfortunately, some writers seem to create pieces or publish in much the same manner.
Rush to Publish?
This rush to publish happens to all of us. About two years ago, I made the mistake of publishing a post on top of one of the other writers at Two Drops of Ink. I wasn’t paying attention; I just wanted to get my piece up so I could concentrate on my addiction blog.
Our culture of instant everything has also forced us to live and think at a speed most of us cannot sustain for any length of time. There are deadlines imposed on us and by us.
So, you’d think that with that mistake, I’d take a break from writing.
Instead, the experience made me think about how often we sacrifice our writing simply to get something out there. It wasn’t that I published to cover up another’s post. I simply felt pressured to edit and hit the publish button without checking that there was another post already up.
Sitting here writing today, I’d rather be proud than pressured, and that takes time.
Cooking, Creating, and Correcting
Writing comes naturally to some of us, not that we’re necessarily good at writing to begin with, but we’ve done it for a long time. But is our writing fast food or haute cuisine? I know the difference. My oldest daughter is a graduate of a culinary arts school and competed on the first student culinary Olympic team in 1988. I know, you didn’t know we had one; well, we did. And she came by this love of creating excellent dishes from my mother.
Cookbooks were not just for decoration but used in our house. My mother had untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and besides artistic talents, she found comfort in cooking.
For her, making excellent food was another way to dissipate some of her boundless energy. If she added to the recipe, she made notes in the margins about the improvement, responses from family or friends, and if the recipe could be doubled and still retain the taste or texture.
I can remember her selecting the right pen to use for her margin notes. If she liked her variations, she would use a blue fountain pen. If she didn’t like the results, she wrote in red, much like editors on written pieces. This attention to detail was what made her cooking so outstanding.
And it’s the same with writing. We have to pay attention and not publish until we’ve written as well as we can that day.
What Are Your Ingredients?
- What got your attention today?
- What did you observe?
- Where did you find inspiration?
- Is there a fresh perspective that you can add to an old-familiar topic?
- How do you improve as a writer?