What’s My Motivation Here?

November 5, 2007 at 9:32 am | Posted in career, Jessica, life, motivation, writing | 2 Comments

There is a story told about the late Sir Lawrence Olivier, when co-starring in a West End show with a leading Hollywood actor. The American actor, a successful student of method acting, was having difficulty getting into role. After several unsuccessful attempts at a particular scene, the star held up the cast and production while he roamed about the stage muttering ‘what’s my motivation here?’. Sir Larry put up with this for a while and then approached him. “Look, your motivation here is you’re being paid ten times as much as the rest of us. And my motivation is just to get through the bloody thing!” (British Dental Journal (2003), 195)

As an unpublished author, I can’t help but echo ‘Sir Larry’s’ sentiments – a published author is getting paid [much more] than I am and, when working on my current wip, I at times can’t help but feel that I just want to get through with the bloody thing!

So without the paycheck at the end of my writing rainbow, what’s my motivation to write?

Well, each morning when my alarm clock goes off I could just cry. I don’t want to climb out of my new poofy, warm, red, fengshui-inspired bedding to begin yet another day of monotony. Especially when I could so easily stay at home and write with my laptop, clad in my pajamas while curling up in that nice, new, poofy bedding.

But I digress . . .

I have a day job at a decent workplace with some great people. I have two master’s degrees and work in a decent job doing what I was trained to do. I have medical and dental benefits, a retirement plan, and a fair amount of vacation time. These workplace deals just don’t come around as much as they used to.

But I am So. Un. Ful. Filled.

I know, boo-hoo.

When that alarm goes off I would much rather look forward to a day spent tearing my hair out at my keyboard rather than playing some cog in someone else’s unappreciative machine.

I do have some amazing co-workers. I met my best friend at my current workplace (you’ll get to meet him as he’s going to post in my place when it comes time for my turn during our monthly open-topic blog week at the end of November) and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Talk about a workplace benefit.

I have another friend who helps me get through the daily mundane. We’ve bonded over the fact that we have major interests outside of our workplace and, more often than not, we share in the feeling that our days actually begin when we leave the building and drive out of the staff parking lot.

His philosophy is that the respective professional positions we hold at our workplace are more-or-less our waiter jobs . . . and having lived in Los Angeles, I know exactly what he means by his anology. So many people in LA wait tables or play hostess because they need to have the flexibility to audition while also being able to pay the bills. Their waiter jobs feed their needs while they pursue their truer passions.

I am not a reckless risk taker so I have yet to reach the point where I feel that I can suffer (that much) for my art. I am good at my job and need it to live and am in no position to quit. And if I have to work somewhere, at least I am at a place with kindred spirits that help feed my happiness . . . and a place that pays my bills and lets me, in my spare time, pursue the life I truly hope to live.

So, back to my week’s topic . . . What’s my motivation here?

With no disrespect to food service workers everywhere, I don’t want to be a ‘waiter’ all my life. It’s just not where my heart lies. Remove the ‘a’ and replace it with an ‘r’ and that’s what, in my heart, I’d rather be doing. I love words and I write just because it’s in me. I sometimes lose sight of that love when I’m standing at the bottom of the hill and I’m trying to take clean, deep breaths as the crap continues to roll down. I am glad that Meg picked this topic this week – I needed to be reminded of what my motivation is.

What’s yours?

Have a great writing week!



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  1. Well, it seems like you needed to vent.
    But it does seem like a vicious circle, in a way.

    If what motivates you is writing, then maybe you should make a timetable or something for after work and really stick to it. Maybe Nanowrimo could help in getting the creative juices flowing…that sure helps keep one cheery!

    And let the whole “one day I’ll be published, and that day will be soon” help as motivation. Sort of like your 5 minutes to the miracle post, no?

    And then you asked what’s my motivation to keep writing…I guess my love for writing, too! Writing has that, it just makes me…release endorphins.

    I think there’s another reason why I write (or wrote…I’m beggining to be independent about it). Contests. Prizes. The pride of having a wall full of wooden shields with metal plaques with my name. The heaps and heaps of books I’ve bought with the bookstore credits I get.

    WOW. I even surprised myself at how nakedly honest that is.

    I feel so flawed now XD.

    But anyway. As I write more and more, I’ve decided to do it for myself. Like, doing Nanowrimo. I’m in the middle of international exams and I doubt I’ll get to 50k words, but I want to try, and I’m not going to get anything in exchange other than the satisfaction. The joy of it.

    And let’s be honest, that’s not so easy to come accross. At this point, it’s more than enough for me.


  2. […] That phrase has become kind of a timely mantra for me, whether I use it to think about the heroines in my WIPs or, more recently, in relation to the entry I posted last week on motivation. […]

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