Join Prism Book Alliance® as Posy Roberts goes Outside the Margins today.
I like marshmallows, but I’d rather have two than only one.
Authors can be weird. 😉 I know I am. I work alone without talking to a soul for hours, aside from the characters who talk to me. My brain is always working, observing, cataloging, and making connections.
Authors are often self-motivated. Sometimes that’s easy, especially when characters or plots won’t leave us alone, but other times getting started is like pulling teeth. No matter what, it’s up to us to get words on the page, which means work before play most days.
In the last six months, I’ve gotten busier with my own writing. I’ve also taken on more beta reading, proofing jobs, and am now editing for authors. I work way more than I ever did as a clock puncher. Throw homeschooling in there, and I’ve essentially got two to three FT jobs. But I love it so much more than my PT job I’m finally free from!
Now, take this self-directed mom and add in a totally distracted child. That ended up in a firestorm this week.
I was so apoplectic, I could’ve powered a small city with my rage, and it was because of Minecraft and my child’s procrastination. She struggles with delayed gratification. Part of that is her ADHD, but I refuse to let her off the hook because of that. Every human being needs to learn to work before they play. Either that, or they don’t ever move out of their parents’ basement.
And trust me. She’s not living in my basement.
There’s a famous and oft-repeated experiment that Stanford professor Walter Mischel started in the 1960s. Researchers set a marshmallow in front of a child and tell them they can eat this one marshmallow right away, but if they wait for the researcher to return to the room, they can eat two marshmallows. The researcher leaves the child for fifteen minutes, and hilarity ensues.
Here’s a modern-day video for those who have never seen this experiment.
[Embed video ]
Some kids eat the thing immediately, some kiss or sniff or lick the marshmallow, and others do any number of things to avoid thinking about the yummy treat they crave, because two is better than one.
Mischel followed up, and those children who delayed their gratification as kids did better as adults. They were less likely to have substance abuse problems, and they scored higher on aptitude tests, had healthier stress responses, and also had better social skills.
I was that kid who biked to the corner store and bought a watermelon Jolly Rancher Stix the second I got a quarter, so I’m not unfamiliar with impulsiveness. That changed in fifth grade when I found out a friend was able to watch TV each evening, school night or not. How?
Her answer was simple. “I get home and do all my work before supper. Then the rest of the night is mine.”
Delayed gratification. No procrastination.
That’s when the world changed for me. I got my work done first and played—really played—later. It’s that fundamental principle that benefits me today, and I would venture to guess this is true for most authors as well as editors and artist. Heck, probably for most adults, because I bet most of you aren’t living in your parents’ basement.
So my kiddo and I talked, yet again, about the benefits of working first. Broken record, but I came from another angle this time, talking about the warning bells that ring in our heads when we know we should be working. Who knows if it’ll work. It’s hard to truly relax and have fun when we have ten more chores to do. I enjoy my breaks half as much when there’s still stuff to do.
And right now my list is so very full. So is my kid’s, considering there are only four more weeks of school. But every time I cross something off, I feel lighter. I’m so grateful for those warning bells telling me to get back to work so I can truly have a relaxing time.
Kiddo has sworn off Minecraft for a time. I also blocked the server, because the more time I’m hounding her to get back to her schoolwork, the more time I steal from writing or editing.
And I want to write. I want to work.
So, how do you keep yourself motivated? Are you a mini-break person? What are your tools?
Or are you never able to get that second marshmallow?
About Posy Roberts
Posy Roberts writes about romantic male love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep; her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|