Feb 1, 2010

Would you eat the marshmallow?

by Nikki Logan

February is release month for my debut in North America & United Kingdom. My incredulity that this day has *finally* come has made me reflect on my intolerance of delayed gratification. I’m TERRIBLE at waiting. Not that I fight it or make a scene or do inappropriate things about having to wait but I pine horribly for the thing that I can’t have immediately.

I know…I’m sure it’s character building to wait. Patience, apparently, is a virtue. Go figure!

I was a good pocket-money saver as a kid and I didn’t get everything I wanted handed to me on a plate. I’m a good financial budgeter now. So I don’t know where this urge to have things *now* comes from. It’s more than just excitement or eagerness to have my book on a shelf. Part of me is just plain efficient and waiting is simply not efficient.

Someone did a study in the US years ago with children and marshmallows to see if there was any correlation between kids that ate an unsupervised marshmallow (knowing there’d be no more if they did) and their success or otherwise in life. They compared them to kids who didn’t eat the marshmallow having been promised more if they waited. It’s a kind of reverse bird-in-hand science and it doesn’t take a genius to anticipate the outcome.

Sure enough, the kids who took the mallow largely went on to struggle financially in life. They made poorer decisions, married badly and generally weren’t successful. By contrast, the kids that sat and stared at that marshmallow and waited patiently for the payoff of a whole bag of fresh ones (the two-in-the-bush kids) went on almost unanimously to be successful in life. Highly successful.

Delaying gratification, therefore, seems directly linked to long-term success but it flies in the face of the in-hand/in-the-bush wisdom. What to do??? And so, while I’ve smiled stiffly and drummed my metaphorical fingers waiting for this exciting day to come, I can rest assured that enduring the wait will, statistically, lead to success.

What about you? Are you a bird-in-hand kind of marshmallow eater or an invest-in-the-future marshmallow leaver kind of person? Or doesn’t it matter as long as there’s marshmallow at some point?Do you skip straight to the last chapter of books you read (or worse, write!) or is the journey what you’re interested in?


  1. Congrats Nikki - big day.
    I'm a not eat the marshmallow person I think. Although not being a huge fan the test would be more over choc for me. Not sure the resistance would work so well then!

  2. When I want something I have the patience of a saint (a publication contract, a house etc) Get me on the road and my patience - sadly - ends there =(

  3. Woohoo! Nikki! February! Your bag of marshmallows is on the plate! I'm looking forward to seeing your debut on the shelf Downunder! Your patience is definitely going to be rewarded.

    As for which sort of marshmallow eater I am - I'm pretty sure I'd have been the kid that held out for the bag. I'm still good at delayed gratification. To the point that these days I'm working towards being, not so much a "have-it-now" person but, a "do-it-now" person!

  4. Hmm not sure what sort of person I would be, being not a huge marshmallow fan. I guess I'd be an eater which means I'm failing horribly in life - according to the study - not sure I truly believe that because I don't think I'm failing at all!!

    I will look for your book here in Houston and take a photo of it on the shelf and send it to you. I will even buy a copy too! May send it to one of the Wink Girls to get you to sign it at the roadshow and then they can send it back!!

    Now I can wait for a book contract as I want to make sure I'm not a one book wonder!!

  5. Hi Nikki -
    I'd like to think I could wait...but I'm totally addicted to marshmallows! Especially the pink ones. If it was some other sweet, I'd wait!

  6. Becca and Mel - yeah, I think writers (on the whole) have to be patient or we just wouldn't survive the interminable w-a-i-t-i-n-g. So I'm expecting lots of marshmallow-leavers.

    It's easier to be patient in an environment where others are waiting with you (nothing worse than being the only one) and when you can share vicarious rewards as someone else's patience pays off. Helps with the motivation.


  7. Sharon - actually I find (re: waiting) that by the time I get my bag of marshmallows I don't feel like them anymore. The having kills the urge. LOL. Thanks on the congrats, it is exciting to so nearly be there!

  8. Nicki - when did you move to Houston? I had no idea! Yes I'd love to sign your copy but how sad that you won't be at Roadshow. I clearly need to keep my ear to the ground more.

    See there's a whole category of research subjects that they didn't look at - the non-marshmallow likers. They'd be getting all this kudos for not eating the mallow when in fact they're just not motivated by sugar and pigs hooves. They'd probably give the bag away.

    Enjoy Texas, y'all!

  9. LOL Anna - don't read my previous post if you're a fan of the mallow.... (but yeah... pink all the way).

  10. Woot Nikki - happy release day. I don't know - I would like to think I'd hold out for the whole pack but I just don't know.

  11. Thanks Tracie - well, it's so hard to actually pick WHEN release day is/was. Hardcover back 1 December, ebook 1 Jan in US, UK shelf 6 Feb, US shelf 9 Feb, avail Aussie via M&B website 1 Feb... Aussie shelf 1 March.

    LOL. Any wonder I'm confused. February... generally it's out...

  12. LOL - can I say it depends on my mood re marshmallows etc? Yes, I can be patient sometimes and others not so much :))

    And congratulations on your debut being released - with all that waiting at least you get 6 dates to celebrate!!

  13. Hey Nikki

    Patience is something I lack - period.

    I think marshmallows are best eaten toasted on a nice fire - with good company around you to share them with.

    Now my cats - they are just like yours in the picture, patient, serene and poised ( all qualities I am without...) - until they want a fuss - then they want it NOW and will walk on my keyboard, wake you up at night and generally give you cat love because they are in the mood. Those are qualities more like mine.

    Congrats on your debut - can't wait to start reading my copy I won and great timing - I received this morning.

    Thank you again LoveCats for the books and the great blog.

    Bye 4 now

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