What Kills Your Motivation?

It changed my perspective entirely when I took the time to identify the motivation killers in my life.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write a teen fiction book. Besides my love for writing, the primary motivation behind my goal has always been to create an original story that sucks young people in and gets them excited to turn to the next page. A secondary motivation is to have a means of bringing truth and encouragement to teenagers in a day and age where they face such unique challenges. Yet another motivation behind this goal was a desire to create something lasting and tangible to leave behind me after I pass away.

As noble as these motivations are, years went by and I made little progress on the book. I recently had the startling revelation that I must be allowing certain things in my life to kill my motivation. So I made a list of the things that were holding me back from accomplishing my goals. This is what my list looked like.

My 4 Motivation Killers:

1.)   Social networking. For starters, I spent hours on Facebook and wasted valuable time I could be spending writing my book. But that’s not the real reason social networking is a motivation killer for me. By the time I finish reading all of my family and friends’ status updates, I am usually left processing other people’s thoughts, frustrations, goals and successes instead of focusing my energy on my own thoughts and motivation. All my creative energy starts channeling into solving and mulling over my friends’ mini-crises and I never end up channeling that creative energy into my book.

2.)   Fear of failure. The fear here is that it won’t matter if I finish the book because it will only be rejected by every literary agent and publishing house in the country.

3.)   Fear of my work being snubbed. The fear here is that even if I get the book published, no one will like it and I will get all this hate mail telling me what a lame book I wrote.

4.)   Lack of support. My closest friends are neither readers nor writers so it’s a big motivation killer when I share my goals of writing a book or try to get a friend to read a rough draft of a chapter and I am met with very little enthusiasm.

Once I had identified the things that were holding me back, I was finally able to do what I could to overcome these motivation killers and get back to my original goal. First, I cut back my social networking significantly (no easy task for the Facebook addict) and I began using the time I normally spent on Facebook to pour over online writers’ forums and connect with like-minded people who would help motivate me to finish what I started.

Secondly, I acknowledged that my fear of failure and fear of being snubbed were irrational. If I produced a quality manuscript that fit with what a literary agent is looking for, then it would get accepted and could later be enjoyed by the age group I care so much about. But you can’t create a quality piece of work if you reject yourself before anyone else has even gotten the chance to reject your work. Rejection from literary agents may be commonplace but it’s also commonplace for successful authors to have their work rejected repeatedly before finding a literary agent and publishing house that see the work for what it is—an excellent story. As for the critics I will face one day? Well, they’re simply not as important as the ones who will truly enjoy the book.

Ideas are flowing and the book is progressing again for the first time in years. And just think—all I had to do was find a way to kill my own motivation-killers.


This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing schools.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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