A writer’s motivations tend to fluctuate quite a bit from time to time. This is normal because motivations are usually based on temporary or short-term excitement towards a writing project. But for many writers, our motivations alone cannot carry us through all the trials and tribulations of completing writing projects and dealing with rejections. As soon as our energies start to wander or dwindle, or something unforeseen happens in our lives to distract us from our main writing goals, our motivations will turn flat, and we will probably quit whatever we’re working on, many times never to return to it. Again, this can lead to many started and incomplete manuscripts and an unsuccessful writing life.
I’ve been there myself at the beginning of my writing career. Every week or two a fascinating topic would strike me as a promising prospect for a writing project. I would spend a week or so working on the project full throttle. Then one day I’d wake up and suddenly my inclinations to continue working on the project would dwindle and I didn’t want to work on it any longer. This went on for a few years until I realized that I needed something much more predictable to stick with a writing project to its completion. But what exactly did I need?
After some reflection, I realized that seasoned writers need something more than mere motivation. I had to make a decision to see the project through to the end, regardless of how I felt about it in the short-term. So, I had to create a long-term plan to complete the project. Obviously, this took much more than motivation. It involved a firm commitment to see the project through to completion. But many times to make this commitment, we need support from other writers and colleagues. This is something that writers don’t have.
I believe that what writers need to be successful is commitment. Commitment goes way beyond the fluctuating short-term excitement of beginning a new writing project. There is a marked difference between motivation and commitment.
Motivations are based on things that we want, like and that we are momentarily passionate about. Motivations usually have to do with short-term goals that can fluctuate and they are usually based on feelings and emotions more than based on longer-term commitments. So, motivations are not long-lasting and can fluctuate quite a bit.
Commitments, on the other hand, are usually decided upon, they are not based on pure emotion and passion, usually focus on a long-term goals, they don’t fluctuate as much and tend to be much sturdier and up to date. But even commitments are difficult to keep if we are doing it completely on our own.
As we can see, commitment ensures the completion of goals from the most important to the least important. Commitments stop short-term plans from taking top priority in our writing lives. We need to focus on longer projects to be successful writers.
Thus, to be most successful, you should try to be more committed to your projects that motivated. This will ensure that you complete projects and that you will do everything in your power to be the best that you can be. But you need other like-minded individuals to be able to bring about your commitments and ensure that others hold you to your commitments.
Writers are a sensitive bunch. We need that sensitivity in order to write great manuscripts and to be productive. However, that kind of sensitivity can backfire and result in heartache when it comes to telling others what we need to get some writing done. Other people, who are not writers, will not understand that we need to spend SO much time writing and revising your manuscripts. And that can wreck havoc in our output.
Most of our family members want to be doing other things but sitting around at home writing. Unless you are lucky to get married to a spouse who is a writer or who can really understand the writing life enough to put up with the kind of time that you have to devote to be a successful writer, you will have constant strife and conflict. And this can ultimately influence you to reconsider your initial goals as a writer.
Also, sooner or later, if you are not really certain about your motivations, the non-writer will wear you down, and you will be resentfully following them to the baseball park or for a picnic with the family, fuming. That is very unhealthy for a writer. All writers need the space to write, and they need the time to simply relax and write. If they are always under constant tension, they will never be able to write with the kind of concentration that they need to in order to be successful.
Writers need support from other like-minded people who have writing goals. This is why it is so important to belong to a mentoring group where you could get some support or to have writer friends.
Irene S. Roth