An IWSG Post: What Motivates You?

Good day.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. The first Wednesday of every month, bloggers from all around write posts designed to encourage writers of all levels. We share our progress throughout this writing journey. We express our fears and share our joys. If you wish to join in the fun, click on the link here.

The A to Z Challenge wrapped up a couple of days ago. This year, I declined to participate. There are a few reasons. One, in the two years prior, I was disappointed in the lack of responses. I felt like no one cared about what I had to say. Two, coming up with random topics for two years was challenging. Brainstorming a new set of topics was near impossible. Three, my experience was limited, at best, about certain topics. I feared what I wrote would be taken out of context. And four, with all that’s going on now in my daily life, it wouldn’t be easy to set aside a set time to write and post something. Valid reasons, all of them. But the truth is, my heart wasn’t into it this year. I didn’t have the motivation to take the time out of my schedule to write anything. 

This got me thinking about what motivates us to do what we do. We set goals in every facet of our our lives. Career, financial, relationships, whatever.  I believe motivation—the reason(s) behind what we do—determines whether we succeed or fail. And many ideals factor in what motivates us: morals, lifestyle, finances, etc. 

For example, many writers, including myself, have a goal to write a novel. Here’s where motivation kicks in. If I say I want to write a novel because I want to be published, that’s fine. But if I write a novel just because I want to make money as a best-selling novelist, chances are I will be disappointed. Having a novel published are slim because everyone has the same goal in mind. Even with putting in the marketing work, researching trends, and receiving reviews, odds are still unlikely that hordes of readers will run to bookstores just to buy my book. And what if my book is not a bestseller? What if I don’t receive positive reviews? What if I’m too late latching onto the trend? Then what? What will motivate me to write another book? Possible answer: nothing, if my motivation is to make money. 

On the other hand, if I want to write a book because I want to tell a story. If I want to share an experience or address an issue through the written word, then more rewards are possible. It’s more likely I will be satisfied with what I wrote. It’s possible that I will enjoy and appreciate the process, not matter how long it took to write. It’s possible sales and reviews will not be the driving force—not saying that they’re not important. Bottom line, there’s a greater feeling of satisfaction, even if it’s the only book I write.

Now these situations are hypothetical. Everyone’s writing journey is different. Some writers might not want to write a novel; they feel more comfortable writing short stories or memoirs. Some might not go into writing looking for a big payday; they want to write as a hobby or an opportunity to challenge themselves creatively. Regardless, the motivation behind writing will determine whether or not your journey is worth the hard work. Now this is not meant to sway your thoughts on why you write. What I will suggest is to take some time to learn about your motivation, especially if you’re feel disconnected with your writing.

What say you? What motivates you to do what you do, writing or otherwise? Feel free to comment. 

Until next time…

2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: V is for Victory

AtoZDay22We all love the thrill of victory. It’s a sign of our hard work paying off. I can’t imagine anyone not being excited after such accomplishments. But not every victory has to be for the big moments. The small steps we take deserve to be celebrated. Big or small, recognizing those victories is important to our psyche. But I think it’s also important that we recognize the failures along the way. No one enjoys them, yes, but even in defeat, there are small victories worth taking away.

Writers are no different. We have moments, big and small, that are worth celebrating. Sure, we celebrate when we our manuscript gets the green light from a publisher, when they become books, and go on to be best sellers. Book tours soon follow and we’re local celebrities. But even if their manuscripts don’t become books right away, just the feeling of completing a manuscript is victory enough. But with some writers, just completing a chapter is a victory of itself. Or, when someone meets their quota of writing 500 words in a day. Or, when a manuscript becomes a book, just feeling the book in their hands, seeing their name on the cover.

Everyone views victory and success in their own way. I feel victory just by writing a page or two a day. Or, when I post something on my blog. This A to Z challenge is a confidence booster. Knowing there are people reading what I wrote, whether it be positive or negative, means I’m writing something worthy of commentary. I haven’t reached the point where I’m ready to produce a manuscript, but I have the feeling that day will come. I focus on short stories right now, and I feel victory when I complete one. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes a week. But that accomplishment is worth celebrating.