Motivation can be everything.
It can get you up in the morning. Remind you why you do whatever it is you do. Make that thing you do worthwhile. Give you that spark, that drive, to complete things, to do something well instead of half-assed.
But sometimes, motivation can be hard to muster. Sometimes you do silly things like ask “Why am I doing this?” or “Is this all worthwhile?”, or my personal favourite, “Will any of this amount to anything? Will I?”
I don’t know if these are questions just writers ask themselves, or is it other artsy people, or everyone in general?
I suspect everyone, at some point in their lives, asks themselves these questions, circling around the bigger life questions like “Why am I here?” and all that. But I think I’ll just focus on the seemingly simpler one, “Why am I doing this?”
The “This” in question for me is writing. I may not have always been a “writer” per se, but I have been a storyteller. I have created characters, worlds, mythologies, and all the things you need to make a writer. It has only been the past 16 years or so that I have come to my senses and realized there was a specific outlet for all these whacky things I was thinking up. Over the years, I have also written and blogged about my ups and downs as a writer, from the frustration to the successes.
In the past few years, I’ve had a little more chaos and disappointing revelations than I would have liked. With a little more on the horizon, this question returns to me, like a boomerang I keep trying to get rid of. “Why am I doing this?” “Will any of this amount to anything?”
The easy, gung-ho answers would be “Because I love it!” and “Who cares!”
I do love writing and creating. They may be the only two things I’m actually decent enough at to get noticed. I have also written for myself, for my own enjoyment. In my opinion, if you write what you enjoy, it comes through in the writing and others will see it and either enjoy it or not. George Lucas or the Wachowskis, they didn’t write the biggest things they are known for to make others happy. I’m sure many other writers are of the same mind-set. They write what they enjoy and the passion and skill of doing so makes their works that much better.
So why am I asking myself these questions? I could blame the lack of support from many of those closest to me. Their indifference stemming from a lack of understanding, or a lack of willingness to understand. I could blame bad habits, or lack of discipline when indulging in my addiction and what should be a pastime and not a full-time. But the truth of it is, I have only myself to blame.
The support I would like from family and some friends may never come. Thankfully, I have some good friends who have always supported me. Laziness and procrastination are two big factors in feeding my bad habits, and allowing my negativity about others things that bug me (as written about in other blogs). IE: If I’ve had a crappy day at work, when I get home, I allow myself to wallow in that negativity. Which brings me to indulging in my addiction, junk food, and my favourite pastime, watching movies. Both have gone hand-in-hand for decades. It’s like when a friend told me they had a hard time separating drinking from smoking cigarettes. I won’t go into the personal crap around me, because everyone has personal crap.
The reason I’m asking myself these questions, is because I need to remind myself why it is I want to do this, and what it will take to do it. I think there are times in our lives where we all have to remind ourselves why it is we do what we love, to remind ourselves that, whether or not it amounts to anything, that we remember we accomplished something.
I have accomplished quite a bit. But the next step, if I’m brave enough, if I have the discipline, will help define whether I am truly meant for this. Whether I truly have the talent, skills, and right to actually call myself a “writer”. Whether someday, I can attain the privilege and honour from others to consider me an “author”.
But it isn’t just the discipline, hard-work and dedication that is needed. Hope is needed to. The ability to dream, to imagine, that all of what I want can be accomplished. That everything I need to achieve my goals is available to me. I just need to gather them, use them, and get what I want. I need to shed what holds me back, the bad habits, the negative thinking, and seeking approval from those who don’t give a shit. It won’t be easy, and there will be missteps. But every small victory leads to more.
Like I said at the beginning, motivation can be everything. Without it we can falter, question ourselves, and question our choices.
It is in times like that, we need to remind ourselves what our motivation is.
Sometimes, we just have to write it out.
“Who is it that chooses our steps in the dance? Who drives us mad? Lashes us with whips and crowns us with victory when we survive the impossible? Who is it, that does all of these things? Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time sings that we will never die? Who teaches us what’s real and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live and what we’ll die to defend? Who chains us? And who holds the key that can set us free… It’s you.
You have all the weapons you need. Now fight!”
- Sweet Pea, from “Suckerpunch”