As people the sad truth is that our recollection of things is often wholly inaccurate. Whether it’s because of our subjective natures, or because we attach emotional elements or sentimental value to good memories or because we like to see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be, there’s some truth in the claim that we don’t really have great memories. But that’s a vast topic better served in educational articles and studies, because what I want to talk about is more narrowed down to your enjoyment and appreciation of things, whether it is art, video games, a good book or movie or even just something of sentimental value to you. In particular, how to avoid those rose-tinted biases you build up over time about things you experienced in your past, and how it can limit your enjoyment of things in the present or effectively just be inaccurate, and as a result be a rather damaging thing if you discover that the reality is pretty different.
Writer’s block is pretty much something everyone has heard about, and every writer at some point has thought that they had. Many a debate has surfaced over whether it’s even real, or just a branded name for an affliction that arises purely from external causes. While I don’t think a debate of that sort is of paramount importance, I certainly believe that like any slump there are usually active causes and active solutions, with the key being that I don’t believe it just magically comes and goes. If you are suffering from a creative slump, which any writer or artist surely does at some point, then it is important to identify probable causes and thus work towards necessary solutions, depending on your unique situation.
If you aim to be a self-published author or artist, or to enter any solo venture for that matter, it is important to understand the importance of managing expectations and the concept of reward and gratification. I spoke at length about managing expectations and dealing with demotivation in a previous post, and today I want to build on that by focusing more on the dangers of instant gratification, and teaching (even subconsciously) your brain to expect that. What is instant gratification? Well put simply gratification is that sense of happiness and elation you feel upon winning or reaching a goal or obtaining a desire, and by extension instant gratification is the immediate reward of that feeling. Put in the simplest of terms, expecting instant gratification is basically thinking that if you do something you should see positive results or get a reward for it. This thinking can apply almost anywhere, whether it’s in your job, your personal solo venture, your relationship with your partner or even just your belief structures, and it’s vital to understand the problems it can lead to.