On Writers and Motivation

     New journeys. Swashbuckling Adventures. Old myths. Relationships. They all have to start somewhere, and yet so often we are not the brave-hearted heroes who step out of the pages of our novels. How do these heroes manage to get past that gut wrenching hesitation which comes with starting new things? That bone-chilling fear which comes with adventure?
     Pressure. Lots of it. And a couple blood-thirsty monsters besides.
     But what about us, on the outside? So often we - especially writers - loose our motivation! What about we ordinary, everyday people, stuck on the outside of the leather binding, not blessed with the pressure of life or death situations to propel us forward into new things?
     We must rely on ourselves.
     All our motivation must come from within; all of our drive, purpose, and pressure must be derived from our own internal, self-inflicted bloodthirsty monsters. But, as I've found in my experience as a writer, those monsters are not always all bad. Sometimes, they're not really blood-thirsty at all ... once you get to know them.
     What follows are 6 simple guidelines for self motivation - whether in your writing, exercise, education, or day-to-day life - to help you to get acquainted with the blood-thirsty monster within.

1) Identify what you want.
  • So often, when we start new things, we end up not finishing them because we get to the middle and realize that we never really wanted it in the first place. This merely adds to the fear of starting new things: we are afraid that we will change our minds half-way in . Save yourself a lot of time and ask yourself "Is this what I really want?"
2) Figure out why you want it.
  • Another reason why we so often loose our drive is because we don't know why we want what we want. Sometimes, when we reach this step, we cannot come up with any good, strong reason why we want something, and we realize that we didn't really want it at all.
3) Make a game-plan.
  • Know what it is that  you need to do in oder to get what you want. So often our dream - our 'new adventure', gets lost in a sea of wishes. Make your dream more concrete and attainable by creating a list of what must be done in order to make it happen.
4) List the consequences of laziness.
  • Often, after looking at the list in #3, we become so daunted by the amount of work involved that we want to throw in the towel. This is where our self-motivation must really  kick in. Treat yourself to a little healthy fear by making another list - this time of all the things that will happen if you are lazy about following List 1.
5) Visualize your reward.
  • After the fear and pressure begins to set in, it can seem as though this "new adventure" thing is a long, dark tunnel with no light at the other end. Encourage yourself by lighting a happy fire beneathe your feet, and invision all the good things that will come through your hard work. Remind yourself of Step #2.
  • Perhaps the most daunting step of any new adventure. And, of course, the most crucial. YOU MUST START. No excuses. Often, you'll find, when you push yourself an inch, you'll go a mile.

     The monster doesn't seem quite as scary anymore, does he? Once we have identified our purpose, the pressure becomes our best friend. Now, obviously our purpose in life is more than what we create for ourselves. But the drive, the motivation, behind our actions - whether we are writers, artists, mothers, college students, actors, or postmen - must come from within us.


  1. I love this. Applies to more than just writing, trust me. -Tim

  2. Yes it does - I think everyone struggles from lack of motivation every now and then.