Monday, February 20, 2012

On Motivation

You may have noticed a lack of updates lately.  I certainly noticed.  I'd love to say that there was some epic reason for this.  The reasons for me not posting are, problems with motivation and problems with ergonomics.  Today I'll talk about both, focusing mostly on motivation as it applies to writing.

Motivation is a tricky word to nail down, in my opinion.  I find that the definition from various online dictionary sites sucks.  As a rule, I hate any definition of a word that refers to the word's root.  These definitions are almost as annoying as self-referencing words (for a perfect example, check out the definition of “the”).  Here is my attempt to define motivation.

Motivation is the state of being focused or driven to complete a task.  

How does motivation apply to the writing world?  In order to stay writing, you need to be motivated to do the writing.  That motivation is going to differ from person to person and from day to day.  Some days, I have little motivation.  Others, like today, I have bucket loads.  In addition to finding the main motivation to writer, there are obstacles that create barriers.  In some circles, you will here reference to “writer's block”.  I personally do not prescribe to this idea.  I've never had “writer's block”.  I've had “I'd rather play Skyrim block”, “this character needs to be shot in the head block”, and “my wrists are killing me and I wish I'd die block.”

Motivation is exactly what you put into it.  This is the hardest thing that you could probably hear, but this is true.  You cannot get motivated if you don't have a solid motive to do the writing.  (Damn, self-referenced the word!)  For me, writing is about sharing the story and becoming a better communicator.  Writing is also about proving to the world that I can do this.  I write because it creates a personal joy to know that I made my own world or universe on my own.  If it sounds like a bit of a god complex, it is.  Creative arts are the act of making something out of nothing.  If that isn't the biggest motivation right there, I don't know what is.

Unfortunately, we have to watch out for things in the world that take away from our motivation.  This can be difficult.  I could play Skyrim and run around and make iron daggers to up my Smith skill.  Or I could sit down and write 3000 words on my latest novel, Extrication.  One has immediate satisfaction with a short-term reward.  The other has a delayed satisfaction with a long-term reward.  Focusing on this long-term reward has been what I've personally needed to do to get the writing done.

Take a few minutes and create a list of what motivates you to write.  Post the list near your computer and maybe, seeing that list will be a good reminder of why you write.

At the start of the blog, I mentioned that my motivation was influenced by ergonomics.  I'll explain.  I have canal tunnel syndrome in my left arm.  Canal tunnel is like carpal tunnel only it involves the ulna nerve.  The nerve is located in your elbow where there is a lack of decent padding to protect it.  Due to my job, I'm typing around 15,000 words a day.  My ergonomic situation hasn't been great.  This is something I'm in the process of resolving.  As a result of my ergonomic situation, I've transferred the pressure from my ulna nerve to my wrists.

Today, I made some adjustments at home that seem to be making a difference.  It still hurts to write, but the writing is easier.  I'm hoping that between this change and the changes I'm making at work, I'll be able to maintain higher levels of writing without putting unnecessary strain on my wrists.  Only time will tell.

Upcoming blog posts:
Writing a scene – I've been requested to writing a short narrative.  I'll be doing so and discussing how scene writing is influenced by perspective. (Tentatively tomorrow)

Whatever Wednesday – I have something special planned for Wednesday.  I'm going to attempt to do some fundraising and I'll need help getting the word out.

The Stephen King post – I've been requested to do a blog post on my family story on Stephen King.  You'll like this one, I promise. (Thursday, if not, next Monday or Tuesday)

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