Wednesday, August 25, 2021

That's Motivation!

It's Staying Motivated Week! Yay! 

Let's get into it, guys! Come on! Work those keys!

Geez. Enough! Can we stop, already? I'm exhausted.

How long have we been doing this, anyway? God, is it only three weeks? Feels like a lifetime. When does it stop?

Nope. Not going to cave. Buck up, breathe in, battle on!

So, how do we keep writing when the ink's all dried out in the cartridge? The nib's split, the keys are loose, the ribbon's worn all the way through. There's nothing left in the idea tank and the "why the hell did I start this in the first place" folder's flapping in the wind.

Don't look at me. I don't have any answers.

Seriously, does it look like I lack motivation? How did I get this post going? I'm glad you asked! I just sat down, flilched that calendar strip out of my picture store and started typing. Pro tip: typing stuff at random always works.

Yeah, I'm not the best person to come to about staying motivated, not when it comes to blogging. It might be a different matter if we were talking about, oh, say, what I do for a living.

Motivational Slide #1 - Rearing Horse


Probably time I brought in some help. There are people around this part of the blogosphere who have things to say about motivation and the lack of it that are worth hearing. Things like these:

"Give yourself permission to let anything go that is no longer bringing you enjoyment." - Naithin

"Writing really isn’t relaxing or fun in and of itself." - Tipa

"If you have a passion for something then motivation will come." - Wilhelm

I endorse all of those! Except for one, with which I profoundly disagree. Even though it's true. It's just not true for me.

A couple of years back, after much deliberation, I gave myself permission to start posting about things other than mmorpgs. After six or seven years of doing pretty much nothing else, it was extraordinarily liberating. 

It also took me back to what I used to do before I ever had a blog. I used to write about anything and everything that interested me, print it up, paste in some pictures, photocopy everything thirty times, collate and staple it, package it, post it and sit back and wait for a parcel to drop through my door, filled with thirty more of the same sort of thing put together by other people. 

That's an APA, an amateur press association. It's like an analog blog.

Think of the effort! How motivated must I have been to go through all of that every other month? Or more, because on occasions I was in more than one APA at once.

Were there times when I didn't want to do it? When I wasn't really feeling it? When it seemed like a duty not a pleasure? Hmm... Let me think... Nope! Well, not until the very end, when I started playing EverQuest. That put a stop to it. But then, playing EQ put a stop to pretty much everything else for a few years. That's an entirely different motivational anecdote, that is...

Motivational Slide #2 - Soaring pillar.

Is writing relaxing? Yes, it is. I guess it depends what you mean by relaxation, though. If you mean does it make you go all limp and floppy, well, I hope not. If you mean does it let your mind stop fizzing and whirring and firing off in all directions and just settle into a cool, rhythmic groove then bloody hell, yes it does!

Writing is one of the best ways I know to turn off the outside world and fall down a happy rabbit hole of words. As for fun, then if there's anything more fun than talking about yourself to a captive audience (even if it's an imaginary one) I can't immediately think what it could be.

As Tipa says, if that's not what's happening when you sit down and open up your blogging software of choice, maybe "blogging is just something to do instead of doing something fun." So, go do something fun instead.

Yes, but what is fun? Discuss. 

Okay, don't. We've been down that road a few times already. Let's just agree we'll know fun when we find it, as Wilhelm says about passion. Passion, fun, same thing, anyway, isn't it? Aren't they?

All this talk about motivation is dodging the elephant in the room. Not an easy thing to do although I suppose it depends how large the room is. And how small the elephant. Or vice versa.

If you need to go looking for motivation then you're already in trouble. But then this week isn't about "finding" motivation. It's about "keeping" it. We're assuming you had it to begin with and you haven't lost it yet. It's just beginning to slip away.

Well, maybe you should let it slide. Maybe it's time. Is motivation even one of those things you can "keep"? Isn't it something you either have or have not? Is it on a toggle or a slider?

As Wilhelm also says, "We all seem to be able to find the time to do the things we really want to do, so if blogging is feeling like a chore, perhaps it isn’t for you." And maybe it's not. If you really wanted to be writing that post you'd be writing it, wouldn't you? Just like if you really wanted to be mowing that lawn you'd be out there, mowing it.

Motivational Slide #3 - Dramatic Sunburst

The lawn probably has to be mowed. Mown. Whatever. That's arguable but let's go with it. The blog post, though? That can definitely wait. If you're not feeling it don't force it. Wait for motivation to strike. If it does, great! If not, no big deal. As Naithin says, " If it stops being fun- stop doing it and find something else!"

That, in a blog post, is my motivational speech on why motivation can neither be created nor destroyed. Either it's there or it's not. Or possibly both, if you keep your motivation locked in a box with a flask of poison and a radioactive isotope. I'm guessing no-one does that.

If you had it and you lost it wait a while, see if it turns up. If it does, whoopee! If not, there are other things to do with that time you've gained, things you might enjoy more.

And always remember, like puppies and Christmas, a blog is for life, not just for Blaugust. Only, unlike a puppy,  a blog doesn't die if you forget about it for a week or a month or a year. Unlike a puppy, you can always come back to a blog, blow the dust off and find it as good to go as ever it was.

We might be getting a dog. Did I mention that? No, didn't think so.

See? There's always something new to blog about. There's always something.

That's my motivation.


  1. I like having written. I do like being part of the blogging community. So while the process itself isn't something I really enjoy, I do like the benefits of having a voice, however small, in the community. This is often enough to get me typing.

    1. Yes, having written is the payoff. The regret of not having written down some things in the past is a prime motivator for my writing today.

  2. Also, re: dog, news is that ex-Gov Cuomo abandoned his dog in the Governor's mansion when he left. So maybe you can get that one...

    1. Yeah, much as I enjoy the "writing" bit, "having written" is always the best part! This community has been stellar for the whole time I've been part of it, too, and that goes back a few years before i had a blog, when I just used to leave blog-length comments on other people's.

      If Cuomo's dog's a bichon frise we'd be interested... but only if he's going to pay to fly it over here and pay for the six months' rabies quarantine. I guess those are the kind of expenses he was hoping to avoid when he left the dog behinsd in the first place, though.

  3. Lola is 11 years old now. She is the first dog I've had as an adult and... HEY I just got an idea for a blog post!

  4. Definitely things to say on this. But can already tell will be blog length in scope- so I think that might be the post I tackle today. :)

    The gist of it though, while I'm perhaps still muddling through the detail of my response, is on two points:
    1) Like Tipa said in the comments above, there is plenty to enjoy other than the process of writing, such as the 'have written' and community aspects. The 'have written' side of it is something we've discussed in comments before around the challenge aspect of Blaugust/Blapril too, and the different perspectives some hold around in the moment enjoyment vs. reflective 'I have done a thing' enjoyment.

    2) Possibly the bigger point, around almost any project of worth -- even passion projects -- can run into mental blocks and moments of less enjoyment than others that can sing the siren song of quitting if allowed to. Hell- imposter syndrome or just general lack of confidence can be big ones. Or the often discussed 'I stopped posting for 'too long' and now I don't know how to come back' feeling so many bloggers (incl. myself, in the past) have gone through.

    I don't think 'pushing through and doing it anyway' is going to be the answer for everybody. Some, for their own wellbeing, possibly should quit! But I don't think it should be the default answer either.

    But here I am wandering into long comment length after thinking I wouldn't. ;) So I'll end here!


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