Living in an Easy Button World


A Picture of an Staples, Inc. easy button

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m under the impression that many in our society seem to think there’s an easy button for everything . . . or at least thinks there should be an easy button for everything.

Somewhere along the way, since that Greatest Generation got us through the second world war, we lost our way, our work ethic, our motivation. We tossed good old fashion hard work out the window and replaced it with “the quick and easy.”

We want results now and we want them in the easiest way possible. Path of least resistance  with minimum sweating, please.

Out of curiosity I did a quick search on Amazon and here are some book titles I came up with:

The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers: Create Your Own Masterpiece in 6 Easy Steps

7 Easy Steps to Write Your Book

Become You Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps

Get the picture? It’s all about the easy steps. Steps I can understand. I have no problem with following a plan, a map, a scheduled course, but easy? Let me tell you, there’s nothing easy about writing a book (and I’m sure stealing an election isn’t all that easy either, but that’s a debate for another day).

So while we’re on the topic of writing books, I found a review of my little nonfiction book, Writing Time!, on Goodreads and was interested in one paragraph of it in particular. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s not a bad little guide, worth it if it comes up free. But Dellosso certainly doesn’t offer any shortcuts (and in fairness, I don’t know of any easy ways to write a book). Instead, I took the book to say “Writing is hard work, but figure out a reason to write and make yourself make the time to do it.” It’s not bad advice, but it may disappoint people wanting easy answers of how to make time to write.

Okay, kudos to the reviewer for being honest (apparently, she doesn’t think the book is worth the $0.99 price tag, but free is a good deal). I always appreciate that. I get the feeling she doesn’t subscribe to the “5 easy steps” method of life but rather realizes that some things are just not going to be easy. She realizes, however, that there are a lot of folks out there trolling Amazon, looking for self-help books on how to find the easy button for life. And my book will disappoint them because–surprise, surprise–there are no easy steps offered.

This irks me a bit. In fact, two things she mentions irks me.

First, Writing Time! is about time management for writers, making time in your busy, hectic schedule to sit your butt in a chair and do the difficult thing: write. There are no shortcuts here. It’s a matter of motivation and determination and being intentional about getting something done. You know, the way people used to get things done before computers and iPhones and automated everything.

Second, the only easy answer I can give to making time to write is to make the time. Just do it. Stop talking about doing it, stop dreaming about doing it, stop making excuses for not doing it . . . and just do it. Sorry, no easy button there. Believe me, I’ve looked for one.

I apologize for the rant, really I do, and I fully realize not everyone is in search of the holy easy button. There are lots of folks who don’t mind hard work and wake up everyday with ambition in their belly and a fire in the chest. They couldn’t give a rat’s left ear about an easy button and probably wouldn’t use one if it existed anyway. I applaud them and wish there were more of them.

But I’m noticing more and more that this “easy button” mentality is permeating our society and taking over. People looking for shortcuts, looking for as little resistance as possible, looking for 5 easy steps.

It’s not always a bad thing, it isn’t. I’m all for saving some time and energy when I can but please oh please realize that there are some things in life for which there is no easy button.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Or are we headed down a dangerous road here?

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on June 24, 2013, in Writing Life, Writing Time and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Mike, I think you are totally correct. Why else would diet pills sell so much? We all want what we want and we want it now and without having to break a sweat. You are correct that writing a book is hard, from finding the time, to doing the hard work of editing it to finding an agent/publisher to marketing. Probably harder now than it used to be when publishing houses promoted books for the authors! I think those who give 1 star reviews just don’t get the heart, soul, sweat and blood that it takes to write a book. Months of labor for something that in some cases could take a day to read (I can blitz through a good book in a day if I”m not working and it grabs me). A body will not be sculpted and toned without work (even a diet pill can’t do that). My kid will say “I don’t want to do that.” Too bad. I don’t want to do the laundry, cook, buy the groceries and some days I don’t want to work on the editing screaming to be done… but I do it anyway. We are too much of a “feel’s like” nation. If it feels good, fine, but if not, forget it. Ethics like responsibility and duty are lost and it’s a shame.

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    • Thanks for the comment. Great thoughts. I always look at the “months of labor” thing as an honor when someone reads my book straight through in a matter of hours. It means I did my job by keeping them turning pages. But I agree with your thoughts about the 1-star reviews.

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  2. I remember reading the review you quoted! It was actually the one that convinced me to purchase your book (or download it free, I can’t remember which). I’d already figured out for myself, though trial and error and failure, that there IS easy way (for me, at least), and Writing Time sounded like it would contain much more useful advice.

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  3. And the sad thing, Mike, is that the character building and joy (yes, joy!) is to be found in doing the hard yards. It’s in the journey we realise the specialness of our humanity, not the destination…

    Excellent thought-provoking post, Mike.

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  4. You are right on the money Mike. That is why we have so many products out there to make life easier (and faster). There is nothing like the feeling of working hard and accomplishing something but sadly, fewer and fewer people realize that.

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  5. Mike, prepare to laugh very hard. Guess what, I just pressed the “Easy Button”, though masked with, “Post Comment”. It couldn’t get any easier than that.

    You’re right. Many want that “Easy Button”, but it doesn’t exist (except for “Post Comment”, of course).

    Some things that didn’t come easy for me: Obtaining a first-degree black belt and placing first in a national music competition at age sixteen, and graduating from college with an AA degree after years of hesitance. Any music I’ve ever composed, any art I’ve ever created, and certainly, any fiction I’ve ever written all came without an “Easy Button”…except for the “Save Button”, or…”Post Comment”.

    As far as dieting and losing weight goes…the Cabbage Soup Diet: I lost fifteen pounds in one week with no side effects–and it was very healthy (and tasty), I might add. It was fast, but not easy. You have to stay on a strict regimen for it to work.

    Good results will always cost something: time, money, effort, or another form of sacrifice.

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