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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Motivates You?

In addition to inspiration, writing has a lot to do with motivation. Yes, there are actual deadlines for authors, but much of the in-between business gets done because of self-imposed BIC (Butt In Chair) time. Because of the nature of fiction, there aren’t always clear steps to getting a story down and getting the characters right. One of my favorite sayings is,

"Every day I get up at 6:00 AM to wait for Inspiration. If she doesn't show up by 6:05, I start without her."

While writers, no doubt, have natural traits of mental reserve in the face of not-so-great odds (yay for being stubborn and passionate and slightly masochistic!) and can generate a HUGE amount of self-motivation, it’s no surprise that sometimes we run out of steam.

And then what do you turn to?

What or who motivates you to do your very best in a field where quality is subjective? Because let’s face it, nobody’s going to know if you’re giving this whole writing thing your best shot except for you.

Who is your motivation?

As a child, I was a people pleaser. I was the youngest and loved to make people laugh (which, in hindsight, mostly annoyed everyone). I also loved to get good grades, truly enjoyed school, and wanted to please my teachers. I wanted to do well at soccer for my team. Most of all, though, I wanted to make my parents proud. I clearly remember that feeling. I wanted them to be proud of me.

It’s funny, because now that I’m a parent, it’s the opposite. I want my kids to be proud of me. I want them to see a mom who has a strong passion and gives it her all. And it makes me wonder—were my parents doing the same thing? Was I their motivation?

Today I urge you to think about two things (and feel free to answer in the comments!):

-Who motivates you to keep writing?

-In your life, are you the muse for someone? Are you their motivation? If so, a few words of encouragement go a long way :)

See you on Friday.

Here are a few photos of my motivation:

Me & My Charley-bear, age 2

My Mr. Baseball, age 13

My Homecoming Princess/Future Egyptologist, age 16


  1. Wow, goal setting for someone else is so hard because of the risk, especially in this business. I guess I want my kids to know that I write because I love it and that it's okay to do something you love because it makes you happy. Cheesy, I know. But the writing I could control, everything else...agent, publishing, etc. not so much. Great post and something to think about.

  2. Such beautiful motivators!

    I have 3 also. (4 if I include Hubby) Mine are a bit older but still my motivation. Love and support abounds in our circle.

    At work, I take time with a few customers and clients. I can see when someone needs more than a smile, so I lend an ear.

    Great post.

  3. Love your quote about starting without your inspiration if she doesn't show up! Sometimes you just got to push through it!

  4. I guess I'm pretty self-motivated. Yes, I have those around me who enourage my efforts, but there not the ones who I'm up late at night or early in the morning for.

  5. What a beautiful family! I'm glad you are able to find the motivation you need in them. Writing is hard work. Sometimes you need a little help to keep going.

  6. I see a lot of people who motivate me ... not to give up. And I remind myself why I'm doing this. Not for a career. Not to make a fortune. To learn how to do it. I enrich my life with the experience--and what I didn't know before includes the social interaction with other writers.

    I'm excited to see that my efforts are proving to be a motivation to two of my sons who've toyed with the idea of writing for a while. They're actually doing it now. I'm so jazzed about it!

  7. I love the pictures of your kids. What a beautiful family!
    I was just inspired big-time last week by a writer friend of mine. For the first time ever, I'm experiencing writer's block, and she gave me some wonderful advice to work through it. I know in the past I've helped her through some rough spots, too. What would we writers do without each other?

  8. I take inspiration where I can find it. Unfortunately it has rarely been in my kids because they don't like me holed away somewhere writing and ignoring them LOL. Even when they're grown and left home, they want me answering the phone when they call!

  9. Gorgeous motivators!!

    I definitely want my little girl to see that I'm serious when I tell her, "You can do whatever you want!" I wanted to be a published writer, and I made it happen. I was so proud when she and my husband scrolled through a review site and he asked her to point out 'mommy's book,' and she did!

    And I love the quote you put up...you've got to be your own motivator, or you'll be sitting around waiting for something to happen for a looong time!

  10. Oh, you have a lovely family!!! I also find motivation in my children. I have a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and a Kindergartener and can honestly say that as much as I want to achieve publication for me, I want to achieve it for them just as much. Great post Jess - love seeing a little bit of your inner circle:)

  11. I love this post! My motivation for writing is the need to release tension and create something. My kids are motivation for almost everything else. I love my family and don't know where I'd be without them. But, sadly, they don't always like that I write.

    You have a beautiful family and I bet you are their motivation.

    I have to tell you about my daughter. She loves to make people laugh (just as I did). The other day a friend came over with her daughter. My six year old came up to me with a frown and said, "I can't get her to laugh. I even lifted up the swimming pool."

    So hilarious! She's, of course, referring to the little plastic swimming pool and her friend was not impressed. I had to tell my child that it's not always about getting her friends to laugh. It's good to play with them too :)

  12. You have a 16 year old? Holy crap. I thought I was old for having a 15 year old.

    This is crazy, because you like about 22 yourself.

    Anyway, my kids certainly motivate and inspire me, but I really write for my younger self.

  13. Were you like ten when you had your oldest daughter. 'Cause I'm pretty sure you can't be more than 26 years old.

    I am my own motivation, because really, no one else really cares if I write or not. But I try to be my children's cheerleader in everything they do. So, hopefully I motivate them.

  14. Matthew and Shari~ the older two are my stepchildren, but I'm flattered at the fact that you both think I'm still in my twenties :) I'm into my thirties :)

  15. Future Egyptologist? So cool!!! I guess never thought of wanting my kids to be proud of me, but there's some truth to that. I mostly want them to look at me and say "you are there for me. And you inspire me." I'm not really sure where writing fits into that equation yet, from their perspective!

    I have no idea where my motivation comes from, other than just a love of getting ideas down on paper and getting to know my characters!

  16. Beautiful family & post! I was a lot like you growing up. People pleaser and always wanted my parents to be proud. To this day when my Mom or Dad comment on my blog...I feel like my heart will burst.

    A lot of my motivation comes from within. Through some hard times I realized that I have to do the things that fulfill my heart to be truly happy.

    The people here in our blogger community motivate me too. I love reading about their successes and watching their hard work come to fruition.

    Glad you have x3 the motivation because I love reading your blog!

  17. I love the photos of your kids! Beautiful.

    Um, I'd say that what motivates me is the idea of regret. I don't want to reach a certain point in my life and wonder "what if." And hopefully my kids will see that determination and emulate that in their own lives.


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