Life Updates, writing

A Lesson in Perseverance and Delayed Gratification

I really, really, really wanted chips in my soup.

I had been looking forward to that meal all day long: Chicken Fajita Soup–an “E” meal on the Trim Healthy Mama plan–and the one excuse I’d have all week to eat tortilla chips without guilt! I was so ready, especially after a long, tiring day in town.

And then my mom put a can of coconut milk in the soup, effectively turning it into an “S” meal and dashing all my tortilla chip dreams to pieces. Unless I wanted to venture into the highly-problematic Crossover territory, I’d have to have raw spinach in my soup instead.

Now, if I’d been prepared for spinach, this wouldn’t have been a problem. BUT I WANTED CHIPS. Everything in me begged for chips! But I ended up taking the spinach for no other reason than I knew it was the appropriate choice and that I’d feel better about myself at the end of the day.

Instant gratification: eating all the chips. Delayed gratification: the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes after making the healthier choice.

Fast forward to the very next morning when I realized, with a start, that I only had six chapters of Lionhearted‘s fourth draft left to edit. Conceivably, I could edit two chapters on Friday, two chapters on Saturday, and two chapters on Sunday, and I’d be done. Two chapters seemed like a lot, though. Editing just one chapter usually takes me an hour or longer–and on top of that, my parents were leaving me in charge over the weekend while they attended Dad’s high school reunion.

I didn’t want the added pressure. I was concerned my siblings wouldn’t appreciate it if I rooted myself at my desk for 2+ hours every day while I was supposed to be the Responsible Adult. And I really didn’t like the idea of adding all that long, hard work to a weekend that was supposed to be full of fun, my grandmother’s peach cobbler, and Snow White and the Huntsman. 

“I could do this,” I told my mom during our morning exercise, “but I don’t know if I should.”

“Why wouldn’t you, though?” she asked. “You’d be done. And you could actually rest for what’s left of summer break.”

I admit, I’d hoped she would talk me out of it, haha. I hemmed and I hawed for the rest of our exercise period until I’m sure my mom wished I’d shut up and let her do her pliés in peace–and then I remembered: I really, REALLY wanted those chips last night. But I chose the harder, not-quite-as-tasty thing–and at the end of the day, I was glad I made that choice, wasn’t I?

Why is this any different?

(Just pretend this woman is editing her novel early in the morning before everyone else gets up and not looking at Pinterest, ‘kay?) Photo by Burst from Pexels

Knowing what it would take to finish Lionhearted in three days made me cringe. But I knew Mom was right. I knew deep down, too, that the long slog would be worth it in the long run. My siblings didn’t even look at me strangely when I asked if they’d mind if I hid upstairs for a couple hours every day while Mom and Dad were gone.

I chose the hard, not-quite-as-fun thing. But by the end of the weekend I was so glad I did it…because I finished Lionhearted yesterday afternoon, half an hour before our parents got home.

I still need to make sure a few narrative details and formatting issues are consistent throughout the manuscript and then run a spelling/grammar check–but for all intents and purposes, it is done. I can see the Shire! Lionhearted is almost ready for its grand debut!

And I even got to have chips in my (“E” meal) soup last night 😉

Final stats! I am now well-within the word count range for a science-fiction novel!

9 thoughts on “A Lesson in Perseverance and Delayed Gratification”

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! That is so exciting, Maribeth! I’m so happy for you to have finished your novel. Wow, how cool is that! I’m writing a dystopia right now, and I still am working on the first draft…I can’t wait until the day I finally publish my first fully edited novel! You’re definitely a writer mentor for me…with Joy Clarkson lol. Thanks so much for posting this – I needed to hear it! I look forward to reading Lionhearted! Woohoo!
    Cheers,
    Emily 🙂

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    1. The fact that I was so disappointed over not getting my chips makes me think I have an unhealthy relationship with them, haha! But I do love the THM plan; overall, it allows me a lot of freedom with mah foodstuffs and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been 🙂

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! I can’t wait for the fast-approaching day when I can share the book with everyone!

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  2. Congrats on making the hard choice and congrats on getting Lionhearted done. If you’re anything like me you weren’t looking forward to tackling Lionhearted. You may have been dreading it. I’ve been working on a series since last December and I can’t wait to write about something I’ve never written before.

    I’ve enjoyed hearing of the trials of Lionhearted and can’t wait to read it when it’s published. And I’m glad you made the choices you did. You did make the harder choice, and it’ll be easier the next time because you now know you ***can*** do it.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this story, Maribeth!! (Although it *might* have made me just the slightest bit embarrassed about my own eating habits… something I’ve definitely got to get a better grip on once this whole moving business is over…)

    I fully empathize with the struggle to do things quickly and get them over with, as opposed to dragging them out. Case in point: all the packing and other moving-related activities my family is trying to finish up this month, and my tendency to “mess around” instead of just sitting down and getting my part finished with.

    Also: CONGRATULATIONS on Lionhearted!!! 🥳🥳👏🏻👏🏻 I’m so happy for you, and I greatly look forward to getting to read it someday!!! 😊

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