A few years ago, I was visiting a friend in Texas when I observed a curious, though familiar behavior that grabbed my attention. This friend placed a frozen dinner in the oven, set it for the required five minutes, and stood there impatiently watching—strumming her fingers on the counter. It struck me as odd, because microwaves sound a chime when the time expires. And, just in case you dashed upstairs or to Hawaii, at intervals it chimes again, and again, and…
I watched, first with amusement then concern, when she next began anxiously and impatiently thumbing the granite counter. She was clearly urging the oven to dispense the seconds and minutes more rapidly. I called out:
“Hey, it’s a microwave, already. What’s the rush? You’re actually rushing a microwave oven! If it’s taking too long, push the stop button.” She had to laugh.
I share this, because what my friend was doing is symptomatic of our desire for instant results, and instant gratification. No one has time to wait for facts or solid, dependable results and conclusions anymore. We expect to plant seeds in the morning then crank up the combines for the harvest before sunset, on the same day.
We authors are often understandably guilty of the same. It takes a lot of effort, sacrifice and dedication to do what we do. In pursuit of our dreams and goals, we employ marketing/promotion/networking efforts; join this group, that group; this organization, that organization. And when the heavens do not open up and the manna descends, we’re off to the next ‘thing’, especially if it’s free.
While I understand the desire to find what works, we often fail to ‘work’ what we find. There is no magic, when it comes to promoting and marketing one’s self, and one’s book(s). What is required is persistence, consistence, and dedication. Not to be minimized is the demand for unshakeable belief in one’s own work.
So, the advice I offer and use is what I learned, from my Little League Baseball team manager, when I was an eager, excited Little Leaguer: “Son, patience. it’s focus-focus, not hocus-pocus that works.”
Thank you, Mr. Lonnie McCloud. You’re gone but your words and wisdom remain.
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