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Are you looking for instant results?

We live in a world of instant. Instant communication. Instant purchases. Instant gratification. All of this “instant” mentality makes it hard sometimes to work for and wait for the things that take time. But how instant is “instant”?

In this article, I want to examine the authoring and publishing process through the eyes of a kitchen appliance – the Instant Pot®.

For those unfamiliar with the Instant Pot®, I suggest you check out the Holderness Family video titled “5 Stages of the Instant Pot” embedded below.

So what does this have to do with authoring and publishing? 

American poet, Mary Karr once said, “I was 40 years old before I became an overnight success and I’d been publishing for 20 years.” Perhaps right now you are looking to become a published author, a reputable expert in your discipline, but are unsure how to get there. Unfortunately, the honest answer is that it takes time, hard work, and a discipline of writing to develop and refine your craft as an author.

Pressure must be built

If you watched the video above, you saw the discussion about the name “Instant Pot®” and how its name might be a bit misleading. For those unfamiliar with the product, it is a pressure cooker device, and as such, requires time to build the pressure in the pot before cooking actually starts. Imagine my surprise when my 15-minute meal recipe for the Instant Pot® took nearly an hour to be ready to eat.

Similarly, we have to prepare to write our manuscripts. Collect your ingredients, trust your recipe, and know that there is time necessary before writing can begin. Think of this as the research and development stages of your writing project. The bigger the meal, the more pressure needed to fully prepare it, and the more time it takes to cook.

Quick release vs. natural release

Once the pressure has built, only then does the cooking timer start. That 15 minute meal in the Instant Pot® is finally underway – just 15 minutes to mealtime, right? Not quite. Once that 15 minutes is over, you can’t just open the pot and begin eating! What?!?

Remember all that pressure that built up ahead of time? It’s still in the pot. So for your safety, the lid is locked. The makers of the Instant Pot® didn’t want your dinner blowing up in your face by letting you open the lid as soon as the cooking was done. Instead, you have to release the pressure to finish the cooking process. And they give you two ways to do this – quick release through a valve that exhausts steam rather quickly for faster access to the results or natural release which simply switches the meal to a warming mode while pressure slowly, but surely, diminishes in the pot over about 10 to 20 minutes for that “15 minute meal”.

This is the difference authors face between binge writing a manuscript, quickly editing it, and shipping it off to the publisher versus writing, setting it aside, reviewing and revising it, and then, only when naturally ready, sending it in for publication.

Different recipes call for different methods. A quick meal or appetizer such as chicken wings might benefit from a quick release access to the hot out of the pot results, whereas a pot roast benefits from the opportunity to simmer in the pot before serving to dinner guests. 

Similarly, your manuscript intended for quick publication as a blog article has a different approach than one heading to a peer reviewed journal.

Quality vs. speed

The Instant Pot® is obviously only one method of cooking a meal, and it is not the fastest method either. Have you heard of a microwave? Oftentimes, however, the quality of the results diminishes in relation to the speed at which they are produced. I’d far prefer an oven-baked pizza to one microwaved for a couple of minutes. That said, I’d gladly take the microwave option over the burnt to a crisp version left in the oven for hours.

Regardless of the method of publication, the quality of the manuscript is more dependent on the research and ideas put into it (ingredients) and the approach to developing and revising those ideas in written form (the cooking method) than on the speed at which it is accomplished.

In the case of the Instant Pot®, one of its benefits is the consistency of cooking throughout the meal at a quicker overall cook time when compared to alternatives such as baking in an oven.

When exploring opportunities to improve our publication process, we should look at methods and tools which decrease the overall time to publication without sacrificing the quality of the results. The fastest to publication is likely not the best quality, but the slowest may not be either.

I can’t wait to hear about what you’re cooking up through your writing!

Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.