Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Who Needs Motivation

What is it about motivation?  Why do we give it so much power?  For many of us, motivation is everything.  But why do we have to feel motivated to accomplish, or at least start, doing something.  And, how can we break the cycle when we’re not motivated?

I’ve been thinking about motivation a lot lately.  It’s been a long, long time since my last post way back on April 11th and the reason for this long absence is motivation.  Or, should I say a lack of motivation.  Creating a post should be very simple.  Get off Facebook, write story, upload story to blog.  What could be easier?

Unlike other authors who sometimes go long periods without writing, I can’t blame writer’s block.  I tend to “write” when I am running or riding so I have developed a ton of stories in my mind.  I’ve written stories in my mind about training to cycle up Mont Ventoux, vacation miles versus hell-bent miles, and a mid-year goal update to name a few.  This issue is not limited to the blog either.  I have ideas to add to my cycling book.  I’m developing a new book on lunch conversations.  I started creating a short story on climbing Mount Evans (in Colorado).  I’m even contemplating a business book on management.

Still, as I finish each run or ride with a mind full of fresh ideas, I cannot seem to find the motivation to sit down and type them into the computer.  Instead, I’m too busy uploading the data from my Garmin, goofing off on Facebook, or reading yet another depressing article about our upcoming presidential election.  So, there’s the issue.  I have the time to write and the story is crafted in my mind.  I’m already on the computer but I’m still not writing because I don’t feel motivated to get started.

A few months ago I was struggling with motivation in a different way.  I set some pretty lofty goals for running and cycling miles this year and I was struggling to find the right balance between them.  Of course, this began to impact my motivation to do either and if I didn’t take action I would miss them both.

Then, a friend posted this image on Facebook.  It was both an epiphany and swift kick in the ass all rolled into one simple message.  It was perfect and the more I read it the more I believed it.  This simple message - fuck motivation - was all I needed to head out the door.  In an ironic twist, this message gave me the motivation to get out and run or ride.  And, on the days I wasn’t motivated, I went anyway.

Could this same simple message help my writing?  Can I develop the habit of sitting down to write even if I don’t feel like it?  I mean, I’ve told myself a thousand times that I need to write more often.  I’ve negotiated, offered incentives and even threatened myself all to no avail.

I know what I need to do.  I need to create a structure and stick with it.  I need to identify times when I should be writing.  If I’m not motivated during those times that’s just too bad.  If I can do that, then maybe, just maybe, I will spend less time goofing off on the computer and more time finishing all these stories that are floating around in my mind.

Now, I’ve told myself I would do this is the past so what makes me think this time will be different.  Well for starters, I put it in writing.