This is something that has been particularly relevant for me, having just come back from holiday!
How do you maintain and muster the desire to keep going, even when there is no reward or end in sight? I could very well be writing for myself for the rest of myself and not sell one copy, so why am I bothering to keep writing?
That is a million dollar question and honestly I don’t have the answer for you but after having read several bits of advice online all I can say is this:
If you are only doing something for monetary gain, then you don’t really love it at all.
No, I’m not saying you should just drop your job because you don’t love it, but let’s be honest there is a fine line between doing something you could do all day long and not get paid, and doing something you are good at, can do for a long time, and get paid for. Do you know where I am going with this?
It is hard to find a balance, especially with the current economy. We need money to enjoy a decent lifestyle, and I will be upfront and honest and say that I would rather do a job that I don’t LOVE, but can tolerate so I can pay the bills, rather than risk it all for something I’m not sure will work out.
So what I am trying to say is: if you have a job that pays the bills, STICK TO IT. But, if there is something you enjoy doing, keep doing it when you can! Unless you win the lotto tomorrow, unfortunately you have to suck it up and stick to your day job whilst you work on what you enjoy doing on the side.
Honestly, I enjoy writing but I don’t know if it is at a level where it could sell copies. I am just enjoying it as a hobby at the moment and having no time frame has kept me enjoying it. So my advice to myself, and hopefully this helps you too: I have found that having a job that I know I want to leave one day is what is keeping me motivated. Sure it isn’t making me want to write 100 pages a day but it keeps my goals in check. Also, I have learnt to enjoy and appreciate my job as opposed to just hating it and wanting to leave because I have to be honest with myself. I will be working for a long time so I might as well enjoy it. Having a job has allowed me to enjoy weekends and go on holidays etc., and there is still plenty of time after work and on weekends for me to write.
Whilst I have my days (or weeks depending on the workload) where I would much rather stay at home and write to my heart’s content rather than drag my sorry ass to work and do mind-numbing tasks (is it just me but is all I do in my job consist of having to read, reply to and send emails?). But that is life and instead of being negative about it, I have learnt to (or am learning to) get over it and become more efficient with my time.
I like that I have the luxury of having lazy days and still getting paid, instead of having to stress out and work much longer hours to pay the bills. I like being able to have those days where I don’t feel the need to write and can take a break from it when I need to. I have had plenty of times where I suffer writer’s block or lack a creative punch and I can rest assured that I don’t need to write to a time frame.
So all in all, what I’m trying to say is in order for you to stay motivated, you need to remind yourself of what you have already and use that as your inspiration. For me, it’s having a full time job and the dream of not needing to rely on it anymore. For others it could be their children, wanting to provide them a better life, or wanting to provide for their family more. Find a reason, but at the same time stick to whatever means you have of producing a solid and consistent income. There will be days where you will be more than thankful, and you will be glad you have it as a windfall.
My final thoughts are (at least for someone in my situation): don’t think of your job as an impediment to your dreams but more of a catalyst to enable what you want to do more efficiently. Because even though I have faced this ‘dilemma’ several times, I know myself. If I was to quit my job, even though I would be happy to have more free time I wouldn’t be any more productive. Instead I would just sleep in, write a few hours a day and spend the rest of it being a couch potato and eating more. I would be so happy with all the extra free time that it would feel like a permanent vacation.
This image below helps me put everything into perspective lol
So when you go to bed tonight, don’t look at going to work like it’s the worst thing in the world, instead be grateful to have a good income, and use it to motivate you to work harder when you get home! I’m not trying to be obnoxious here and tell you to love your job – because I certainly don’t – but I have learnt to enjoy it as much as I can, and I am so thankful that I have an avenue that allows me to write in my free time 🙂
What motivates you? Do you agree or disagree with my post?