As I write this, I'm sitting next to my 8-year-old son as he does his homework. This is generally a chore for both of us, because he has a tendency to get distracted. Tonight, in a stroke of genius, I decided to use a bag of chocolate chips as motivation. He does a math problem or writes down a word and then he gets a chocolate chip. It's been amazingly effective to keep him on task. (Except for a few minutes when he lined up the red chocolate chips against the brown chocolate chips and decided to have a war.)
Earlier this week a group of my Class of 2k12 peeps and I decided that we needed motivation to get back into shape. So we started a "biggest loser" competition. (You can see where sitting next to my son, motivating him with chocolate chips might be an issue for that.)
If you've been following my blog, you know that I'm working towards running a marathon. So yeah, motivation has been on my mind.
I've thought a lot about what motivates me as a writer, (and a runner, and a mom, and really just a person.) For a long time I thought that selling a book and therefore deadlines and money would keep me motivated to write. It turns out I was almost less motivated by those things than I thought I would be. I was almost more motivated by a simple statement by my niece, "write faster" as she was reading my first attempt at a novel.
In his on-line article by that name, Michael Hauge says "The Number One Quality of Successful Writers" is tenacity. I agree with this. The ability to just keep moving forward is huge. It may be the biggest thing that separate champions in whatever from the rest of us. So how do you come up with the motivation that supports the tenacity to succeed?
I'm afraid I can't answer that for anyone but me. (And sometimes not even for me.) I'll I can say is find it. Keep moving forward. Keep making it real.
If all else fails, try chocolate.