The simple, and not at all philosophical answer is my daugjter, and maybe making my husband and parents proud of me, and nothing else. What’s actually kind of crazy is that I don’t really seek out my parents approval all that much? I’m adopted, so I don’t have that biological connection with them, and I’ve only really started to notice it as I watch my own daughter grow. If you want to see every bad habit or every bad tendency that you have ever had or thought reflected back at you like a mirror, have a child. That’s essentially what it’s similar to.
Truthfully, what REALLY motivates me, (at least in terms of aspirational career goals) it’s watching this new generation of teenagers and young adults actually CARE about other people and the communities they live in. I say this NOT to be preachy or political or whatever. I say it because if you don’t hold the belief that things will improve for you or other people, what would motivate you?
Motivation is a strange thing for me to talk about, I am a procrastinator by design, and new scientific data that has recently come out claims that people who procrastinate aren’t actually procrastinating. Behavioral science now believes that those who describe themselves as such, are selling themselves short because they tend to weigh the consequences of every decison they make, therefore taking longer when deciding on their careers, who they want to marry, and even small things like whether or not that Snickers bar is really worth cheating on your diet and feeling bad about it later. I take INCREDIBLY long to make even so much as an Amazon purchase, unless I feel like it’s the best quality product for my needs and is reasonably priced (the latter rule is sometimes ignored, I’ll omit) and within my budget. It took me up until 26-years-old to decide that I wanted to make a career out of writing. Although to be fair to myself here, I had no fucking idea that a writing career was even an option or attainable for me, until I read a book by Samantha Irby called Wow, No Thank You that’s a collection of personal essays similar to my writing style, that I even realized that I COULD be a writer. I didn’t realize that being a writer is an attainable goal for me, and the fact that I wasted so much time reaching this conclusion makes me want to kick myself in the throat.
If you want to know where my validation on writing comes from you’d never believe me but this is how much I consistently and systematically ‘Mark Twain’ my work, to the point where “proof reading” is unattainable. I will divulge the secret, even if it means death by sheer embarassment.
What motivates me to keep writing is the ‘Read Aloud’ feature on Microsoft Word.
I had to let that one KIND of hang in the air for a moment there because it’s the most honest thing I’ve written about so far haha. In all seriousness though I can’t stand re-reading my work, listening to myself sing, or watching myself dance to choreography. I think I write, sound, and look terrible. Every. Single. Time. When that happens most of my stuff ends up in the trash. I joke that I act like Mark Twain a LOT, but there is a story about him writing 300 pages (and you know, that’s by hand) of a novel, only to throw the entire thing away. The individual who witnessed this, described Twain as, “throwing it away in disgust,” as is the case with most of my work, seeing as none of it is published (professionally or otherwise). The ‘Read Aloud’ feature for anyone that hates their work, is an invaluable resource to me. It puffs up my confidence and motivates me to write even more because it doesn’t sound anything like me, as a matter of fact, I choose the deepest male voice that is available to narrate for me, narrate for me. I cannot view my own work objectively like that.
The moral of the story is that, while yes, my daughter and my husband DO motivate me, they aren’t what actually propels my personal growth foreward. A talent, a passion for said talent, and the time to capitalize on that talent (which, if you want to do it bad enough, you’ll make time for it, trust me) is really all you need to be successful. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t set your expectations SO high that not even the President of the United States couldn’t even reach them. Be honest about who you are and what you do, and opportunity (or motivation *wink wink*) will fall into your lap.