By Kerrie Flanagan
Filling in for Kelly
Motivation: The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.
I was talking with my brother recently and the topic shifted to "how's work going?" He is in the mortgage industry in sales. For him, work is good right now. Then he asked me how my writing, publishing, NCW... is going.
I said, "Things are a little slow right now and I need it to pick up, so I can pay bills. I'm feeling a little anxious."
He looked me right in the eye and said, "Anxious? I call that motivation."
This definitely stopped me and made me think. Changing that one word shifts everything. For him, the sole breadwinner for his family of 8, he can't become anxious or wallow in feeling of self-doubt when sales are slow. He has to get out there and work or his family doesn't eat. That's motivation.
I look at writers who make a living at their writing. Their drive is similar to my brother's. If they don't crank out the content, the articles, the books, they won't eat. Best-selling author, Hugh Howey gave himself 10 years to see if he could make a living as a writer. It wasn't his first book that hit it big--in fact his first book was published by a small publisher--It was his seventh book, Wool, the one he self-published, that took off. He now makes living as a writer. His dream of being a full time writer and generating enough income to live on came true. I don't know exactly what the core driving force behind this was, but his motivation to keep writing, drove him find the success he desired. (Here is a great podcast with Hugh to learn more about his and his journey).
Now, before anyone gets their feathers ruffled, I do understand that not everyone wants to make a living from writing. And for some, money is not the focus. But whether you are writing for money or you are writing for the sheer joy of impacting readers with your words, there is something driving you to write.
I challenge each of you to look deep inside to find out what motivates you to write. Bring it to the surface. Look at it, examine it, understand what makes it tick. I believe this is your key to success. If you can understand what is motivating you to write, then you can call upon this motivation when you feel uninspired or the words feel blocked or you are revising your novel for the 12th time.
When I looked at this closely for myself, at first I thought my motivation was making a living doing what I love (writing and supporting other writers). But when I thought about that more, I realized that wasn't my motivation, that was a goal. What really drives me is that I want to make enough money so I don't have to go out and work for someone else. I love the flexibility I have now, and the ability to do what I love. I don't want to lose this. This is where my motivation comes from.
I encourage you to figure out what motivates you to write. Once you do, keep that in the forefront of your mind. Maybe even write it down and look at it every now and then to remind yourself of what is pushing you forward to complete that novel, to query that magazine, to write that poem. Cling to that motivation and use it to complete your writing goals.
There is only one you, and you are the only one who can write what you are called to write.