Delayed gratification: Seems like a tall order for our instant access society. Let’s face it-- we can have anything at our fingertips within seconds: music, food, books, photos and the list goes on. As readers, we delay gratification to unravel the plot. As writers—we toil over our words for extended periods of time before experiencing any of the external gratification associated with it, be it positive critiques, publication, good reviews, sales, readership, awards, etc.
Still, we writers also experience the internal gratification of meeting a challenge, working through a hard scene, finding just the right words, and ultimately creating a good story.
It’s what our readers expect too—especially when they have to delay gratification to read it as illustrated by this email I received from a young reader:
Dear Ms. Cervantes:
I saw you at my school and wanted to buy your book but I didn’t have money. I asked my mom if I could have it. She said it’s expensive but if I wanted I could do some chores. I think by two more weeks I can order your book. I really really really hope it’s good.
I did hear back from this reader months later; she said the book was worth the chores.
I think so too. :)
I recently found out that TORTILLA SUN has been nominated for the Rhode Island Children's Book Award! Am I gratified to know this? Of course I am. It is always a pleasant pinch me kind of moment when I win an award or hear a great review. But would I write TORTILLA SUN again if I didn’t receive the external rewards? You bet. Because like that young reader, I’m hoping to excavate a good story and the internal satisfaction only that can bring...even if it means lots of chores.