Instant Gratification

A long time ago, I read a quote that said something to the effect that Polaroid pictures were going to be the undoing of our society. It took me a while to understand that. I mean, how does a photograph that develops in an instant hurt anything? Who didn’t love the excitement of taking the blank picture as it zipped out of the camera, keeping the front of the picture dark (although you knew you were going to turn it over to take a peek), and then shaking the picture or blowing on it to make sure it was dry. Boom. Instant gratification.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s simply the era in which we live, but I finally get it. I love technology and that I can make just about everything I want when I want it on my computer. I like that I can get pretty much anything I ever imagined delivered to my house the next day. I adore that I can stay connected and pretty much hear from anyone at any moment of the day.

It is awesome, really. But it leaves me breathless.

When I started the press, it didn’t take me long to figure out that there were choices to be made. There was only one person—me—to start, and I had to figure out how I wanted to budget my time. Did I want the instant gratification of whipping out one book after another, or did I want to slow down and do things the way I thought they should be done? I choose the later and found that it, too, had its pitfalls. It meant making the decision between turning out a high volume of ok books or spending time picking out just the right font for the cover of a book I loved. It meant sometimes trading prompt email responses for spending time on the phone with an author who is stressed about edits and needs to talk them through.

There are still lots of places in my life and in this business that need to be Polaroid. It’s just that sometimes, we all need to breathe.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have a similar dilemma. I use most of the tools required to keep up with everything and everyone instantly, but it takes a toll on me after a while. There are moments when I just want to pick up the phone and have a conversation and there are moments when I just want to text what I need to get across without interruption. I remember Polaroid photos and they were great, but unlike digital cameras, you cannot delete the image once it arrives! Taking your time has its advantages!

  2. Unfortunately, we have few opportunities for re-dos in real life! I think if we took time to begin with, our need to delete/repeat is lessened. Thanks so much for commenting!

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