Finding Motivation

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” – Edwin Louis Cole

Discovering motivation, that bane of all writers, is not an exercise for the timid. Without motivation, it’s hard to avoid the siren’s call to do anything, everything, except write. Some are disciplined enough to force their way through the tough times (as defined by moments of intense distraction), while others (e.g., like me) need some inspiration from other thinkers to get started (or keep going).

The OED defines motivation as “The (conscious or unconscious) stimulus for action towards a desired goal, esp. as resulting from psychological or social factors; the factors giving purpose or direction to human or animal behaviour.” and “The general desire or willingness of someone to do something; drive, enthusiasm.” Lofty words, but in essence, that which propels us forward doing something for some reason. The trick, as always, is to discover that “reason.”

I’m still working on fully discovering my motivation, but so far it appears that it falls into the “I want to be heard” and “I want to be challenged to think more deeply.” I don’t fall into the group that uses the “I must write or die” mantra, but I don’t knock anyone who thinks that’s their calling. Motivation is as vain and unreliable as a wandering lover’s eye. The only motivation one can get from learning what motivates others is the exposure to the opportunity to open subconscious doors and self discovery that comes with hearing thoughts outside the box where one’s thinking wants to stay cozy and protected from the world. We are, after all, creatures who tend to repeat and let in only the comfortable, the familiar, and shrink from anything new or challenging, unless “motivated” to do otherwise.