Day 24 – The frustrating task of self-motivation

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.” – Latin Proverb

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned as I have gotten older is the importance of understanding that we have to go through things alone. Now, I know I have talked about the importance of understanding that we have to have help if we are going to get to where we are going. And that still stands. But we have to do the work on our own. We are the sole decision makers in what we do each day. We are the ones who are affected by our actions, more so than anyone else. We are the ones who have picked the path we are on. And we are the ones with the ultimate responsibility of getting to where we want/need to go.

It can be frustrating at times when we can’t find anyone to help us in the way we would like to have help. We have ideas and projects that we believe in, but sometimes it feels as though no one else really cares. The people who we feel are supposed to help may not always do so. And that can be difficult when we are trying to accomplish something that we believe in. It’s the ultimate rule when it comes to accomplishing your dreams…. No one will believe in you as much as you do until you can show them why they should. And unfortunately, that usually takes a lot of work.

I find that with writing it takes even more work. You can’t force people to read something. You can’t force someone to pay attention. When you sing people can hear you even if they don’t want to. When you act people can see you, even if they don’t want to. When you paint your work is visible, what you have to say and share is visible, even if people don’t want it to be. But when you write, your ideas are hidden between under the covers. The book covers to be exact. You can’t force people to understand that what you have to say is worthwhile enough to give up a few hours of their lives to read it. That’s significant time. A song is three minutes, and can be turned off. A show is 30 minutes or an hour, and can be turned off. A piece of artwork is available to take in over the course of a few moments. But books, books require an investment. And you have to do work. You’re not just observing, you are actively engaging in reading. And as a writer, I think it’s very important not to waste anyone’s time.

So I made it a point to write something that I believe is worthwhile. And after writing it, it felt great. But now I have to get people to read it. Which is less great. Because even though I want to share it, and even though I believe in it, I have to convince other people that they should as well. And though that makes me uncomfortable, what I have found is that thing that I started learning when I started college – no one else is going to do it for me. I’m the one who has to do the work. The ultimate responsibility is mine.

We all have things we want to do. Things we need to do. And we all have to start somewhere. Is there somewhere you are planning to go or something you are wanting to do? Find the time, find a way, and make it a point to do it. And along the way:

  • Understand that even though people may be supportive, they may not be supportive in the way we’d like.
  • Understand that even though it’s going to get hard, it’s something worth doing.
  • Remember the journey is yours to take, and some of the people will have to come and go.
  • Remember there are plenty of people who have made it through, so there’s no reason that you can’t, too.
  • Stay motivated. You have what it takes. YOU.
  • Smile. This is just good sense. It has the natural ability to lift your spirit, even when things are hard.

About laurenc129

I'm a mom. Sometimes my hands turn orange. Other times I write. On twitter: @laurenc129

Posted on May 24, 2012, in 31 days of May, writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 100 Comments.

  1. pastor tim walker

    Terrific blog! Keep up the good work!

  2. So stellar, so true. I’ve been a ghost writer of sorts for years, via a pr & marketing career, and now while homeschooling my boys, I write from me for those who may read. I drive myself and stay accountable by setting the stage… LifeSchool Inc. ~ 365 days in the world of a LifeSchooling mom. This has been a journey into the wee hours and a task of the daunting-yet-doable kind. There are days when 150 people read and days when maybe only 10 of those who are invested in our journey do. In pr you write for the world and your accolades come in media hits and wowing your client with the NY Times front page (often the ultimate goal). I was pretty great at this. Now I read blogs and they have thousands of followers, hundreds of likes and I wonder… Just how do they do that? Little outta my element now;) I will continue to figure it out, but for now I feel so FAB when even 1 person ‘likes’ and knowing that at the very least my children will have a journal to delight in as years go by. Felt good to read and feel someone was in the trenches with me for a time;) It really must just be that we do what we do because we Love it and would not truly be alive if we didn’t;) j

  3. Lauren,
    I have nominated you for the Sisterly Love Award 🙂
    Your blog has been an inspiration to me since I first started blogging!
    -Paula.

  4. I nominated your blog for the very inspiring blogger award. Go to this post on my blog for more info. 🙂

    http://theinkisfull.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/349/

  5. Self-motivating is extremely difficult, for me. I am a procrastinator, and I rarely finish projects. I knew coming into writing that I would have to work against myself in order to finish stories and grow a pair to send out my work. It’s been tough, and some days I don’t do much, but I make myself work on at least one aspect of my writing a day. It’s getting me there, slowly, I think. I just have to remind myself that no one ever got anywhere by loging on to facebook to look for friends or sittin on the couch watching cartoons all day.
    Great post, by the way. I love inspiring ones like this. They remind me of why I chose writing in the first place. Thanks. =]

    • Working on one aspect a day is great! I’m a procrastinator. I find lots of ways not to work on anything relevant whatsoever. And it’s hard when no one is setting deadlines for you and you have to set them for yourself. I find self-motivation to probably be my most difficult obstacle. It’s so easy to just not do things. Like not making the dentist appointment I haven’t made but need to. 🙂 Good luck on your writing! You are off to a great start!

  6. Wow! I just love this!! Yes, after 2 months now, I totally get the frustration and motivation thing sometimes. People who are very close to you still may not read, and it kind of hurts. I find the most supportive people are other writers. Finally, I decided I just need to write my own truth and trust the results to God. I love seeing other writers who have gotten published because it inspires me to find time and really FOCUS on what I love. Loved the comment about how writing is deep and hidden between the covers. SO TRUE!!! I have 2 words I tell myself, even if nobody reads what I write: KEEP GOING! Just don’t quit! Enjoy your posts so much!

    • Thank you very much! It does hurt sometimes. And I have also found other writers to be the most supportive, which is nice, and I’m really glad there is a way to connect with one another now. It’s pretty inspiring! 🙂

  7. True words. I especially appreciate the fact that you touched on the importance of the individual effort. I am a very strong believer in personal responsibility. Even though I must admit that I sometimes do it myself, I try not to and I don’t like when others blame their parents or outside forces. Where does personal responsibility play the dominant role in ones life? At some point it has to. We are sovereign over nothing if not our own characters.

    • Everyone blames others sometimes. And it’s not that it’s untrue. People do interfere and they do hinder us in one way or another. And it’s frustrating. But as long as we are working that out, and making ourselves our priority then we can focus on getting done what we need to despite whatever role others have played. Because no one else can. 🙂

  8. We want others to read what we have written as we labour long over our self-appointed task. But the competition is great. Even if a few read our books there is some satisfaction. When motivation comes from within, then the pleasure of writing is self-fulfilling.

    • That’s a good point. The smallest audience sometimes can make the largest impact. Even when your only audience is you. We change ourselves simply by doing. We inspire others in the same way.

  9. You make a great point about the time it takes to read versus listening to a song. Sometimes I feel guilty asking someone to read my stuff. But if what I write is compelling, people will WANT to read. I need to become more compelling. 🙂 Thanks for the like!

  10. Thank you for taking a moment to read my short. Love the latin proverb!

  11. This one meets me where I am today. Thanks for the Like.

  12. serenitykingsblog

    Wow, you really blessed me with this post. Awesome! Thank you for posting. Keep up the splendid work.

  13. cioccolatoscuro

    Thanks for liking my post : Breezy Burpees. More to come!!!!

  14. Agreed, it can be discouraging when people don’t see our words… But as long as you don’t change your message to fit what other people might like, as long as you stick to your truth, what you say will resonate with the people that really matter.

  15. Motivation is so important and sometimes hard to maintain. Thanks for sharing some important ideas and for visiting my blog.

  16. •”Remember the journey is yours to take, and some of the people will have to come and go.”

    Thank you for sharing your insight; this statement is very meaningful to me. It’s also very reassuring in a bitter-sweet way…

  17. hi-great blog – I also write about motivation – you are quite bright and I will be back to check your blog often — this is fun isn’t it?

  18. totally agree…we have to go through things alone, people we love will support us, but after a certain point it is only up to us. And self motivation can be frustrating, but I’ve learnt that once you shift your focus from how boring or painful it is, to what you really want or what you want to avoid by achieving that goal, the task of doing it seems easier. Like, something as simple as not wanting to buy a pair of jeans that’s even one size larger (simple, but not easy! esp coz I’ve been a yoyo with my weight :P)

    • Very, very true! And I agree on the jeans… I don’t understand why I should have to go up a size… they should probably just redo the sizes so that I don’t have that issue! 🙂

  19. Great post. I have found this a hard lesson to learn. But…if it means something to you, you will just do it anyway. The hardest thing for me is learning to do it without the handwringing…:-)

  20. Useful points to think over here. And thanks for visiting my blog.

  21. This was good. I needed to read this . It was right on time.

  22. I enjoyed your post and can give a bit of advice – stop seeking validation from others. It is what I was told 15 years ago. When I stopped was when my writing became more honest (more work to do re: self examination but…) and found a genuine audience. Be the captain of your own ship – as you say, you experience things/events on your own. Experience validation of yourself. Keep writing.

  23. I enjoyed your post. I can relate to it very well! Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading. What a great way to find other writers who share the same passion. 🙂

  24. I just want to thank you for liking my post on, 5 Practical Things You Can Do To Get Closer To Your Purpose.
    And I also want you to know that I can relate to what you saying. It is our responsibility to get things going in our lives. And as a writer I find I need to push myself harder. Thank you for a meaningful post.

  25. Thanks for your thoughts. Sometimes I write for just one person. Often that person is me. And thanks for reading neighbors and fences and letting me know you liked it. I’ve rewritten it in a way that makes me feel better about myself.

  26. Rock on. When I read your frustrations (and triumphs), I keep thinking ‘field of dreams’. Build it and they will come. I showed up…a little late, but I did. So will others. Well done. Dan

  27. Thanks for the words of advice! Criticism as a writer is such a double-edged sword for me. In order for people to read my stuff and take something from it I have to shove it in their face; but I don’t want negative criticism, so I like that I can keep it private. Learning to accept the bad and not take it as an affront to who I am is so tough.

    • I am the same way! But I have come to find a really big appreciation for honesty in people’s response. And I think it has helped me to (begrudgingly) grow a lot in accepting that I don’t write things that everyone will like or want to hear, and that’s a good thing. Because it means I write things. Which is what I want to do most of all anyway. And since there are always people who don’t like what you do, then you might as well have them dislike what you love to do, that way at least you are happy with your work.

  28. speechless here …wow awesome insights …loved reading this…

  29. I also find that as I get older, it doesn’t matter so much what other people think. I write to fulfill my need, no one else’s.

  30. This is exactly the message I needed to read today. Thank you.

  31. Thank you so much for this post. There were so many great nuggets that have buried themselves in my heart. This also helps me in my direct sales business. I hate hearing the word “no”, but it’s not the end of the world. 🙂

  32. I’ve been writing for a lot of years but it is still the same process every day. I have to light a fire beneath my butt. Kick the wheels and make it go.

    Always glad to read a little more inspiration.

  33. I am enjoying your blog. I think it takes a mom to write some of your columns! I also wanted to thank you for reading my new and improve blog

  34. ps…hugmamma wrote a wonderful piece called “Believe in Yourself”…I read it, and share it, often…it’s full of so many wonderful ideas and reassurances… http://pocketperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/a-mothers-wish-believe-in-yourself/

  35. wonderful insights…thank you so much for sharing them! As hugmamma writes…we ARE part of a village and we can support one another from beginning to end…I’m finding that I find so many kindred spirits through blogging….in ways I haven’t found in “everyday” life…wishing you well… : )

  36. Our lives begin…and end…with us.

    As a newborn, our entry into the world is unique. Even twins are separated by seconds.

    When we take our leave…we alone will draw…our last breath. But as with our birth, we will be warmly received…when we leave this life.

    Meanwhile, as part of a village…we can support one another…from beginning to end.

    hugs…for the sage advice.
    🙂

  37. I love this post – I’ve been struggling with self-motivation recently and I’m just starting to get on top of it (fingers crossed!). Thanks for liking my post, by the way!

  38. True, but it is something one needs to figure out oneself because until one gets there on one’s own, it is too abstract.

  39. Bhavana Reddy !

    Truly self motivation is a tedious task but definitely worth it. The one thing that constantly keeps us going.
    I needed to see this… Also, for me to believe am not insane to believe so. 🙂

  40. Wow….thank you for this….it’s what I needed right now…a lot of changes going on in my life and sometimes I just want to stay in bed and ignore them. But I do know that I am the only one that is in control of what changes I make….no one cares about how it works out as much as I do…your writing has inspired me today to be in control of my life and I appreciate your writing.

    • Thank you! That’s very kind of you!! You can make it happen… in fact you’re the only one who can make it happen, so you might as well be the one in control 🙂

  41. proactivelearningtoproactiveliving

    Being a voice in the wilderness need not mean that your words go unheard. Have you thought about self-publishing? I am a member of the Inkubatro Master Mind Project. I am very pleased with what I am learning and the perks I receive from this community. Please go back to my blog and check out the Inkubator link on my sidebar. You may find this beneficial too.

    • Thanks, I’ll check!…. I do actually have an agent though, and my book is published by a small company right now. I just have to market it.

      • proactivelearningtoproactiveliving

        Oh yes marketing. Again, you might find inkubator master mind worthwhile for this endeavor. I know it cost a little bit of money but the interaction and info has been very beneficial to me.

      • proactivelearningtoproactiveliving

        That is good news, to have an agent. However, if you are self-publishing like Ben Franklin and Mark Twain the inkubator master mind program is the way to go since there are no additional publishing fees only the monthly membership, which is pretty low.

  42. Nice post and some very true words 🙂

    You know… I worked 12 hours yesterday… I worked 11 hours today… I’ll probably do the same tomorrow… I’m beat… and I nearly didn’t write anything tonight. But it was going on WordPress and reading the words of others that inspired – and motivated me – to write a post.

    Sometimes, when I think, I’ll do it tomorrow, I only have to see what others have done to truly feel inspired to carry on. Honestly, sometimes it feels like you’re running a marathon and I’ve found, time and time again, that just with running, the trick is not to stop 🙂

    Alas, all too often, I still stop for “just a day” anyway… and then it seems the muse leaves me LOL

    So I made sure I wrote tonight. I like it when the muse is with me and I don’t want her to leave, so I’ll keep on going…

    • You are right. It is hard to get back into it sometimes even after just a day. Although sometimes it’s good to take a break. I do always worry with writing and anything in general that once the habit has a break in it it might not return. It’s a good thing you found some inspiration!

  43. Thanks for the great post…a little of what I needed to hear right now.

  44. dereklyonsart

    Fantastic words of wisdom.

  45. I wish this post had a ‘love’ button.

  46. Believing in oneself is sometime the hardest thing to do but the best in order to accomplish what we hope to…Diane

  1. Pingback: Lesson #8: Redeeming the Time. « Joy on a Shoestring

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  3. Pingback: Day 24 – The frustrating task of self-motivation « betweenfearandlove «

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