I teach a Tarot Class on Thursday nights, and in the last class we focused on the Magician. This is a card that shows us how to be creative, and get things done-it is all about beginning, concentration and will. In fact, there is a saying that his main magic consists of what he can do just by wanting to do it. Do you know what you want?
As a writer, I know what I want–to write good, compelling works that will touch the heart and mind of my readers. But like many writers, I run into snags that get in the way of sitting down and writing on a daily basis. The magician reminded me that wanting something is only the beginning of the process. While desire is the energy that fuels creation, and is the root of motivation, ongoing motivation is the key to success.
Motivation is defined as:
- The general desire or willingness of someone to do something
- The condition of being eager to act or work
- A force or influence that causes someone to do something.
I love the idea of being eager to act or work. I want to capture that sense of eagerness and urgency that will drive me to the keyboard, even after I have spent all day working at a computer, even if I am tired, even if I am afraid.
Gretchen Rubin has written an interesting book on the topic of motivation and expectation. In her book, The Four Tendencies, she describes four motivation profiles. She suggests that once a person understands how they meet expectations (or not), they are better able to develop strategies that will work for them around motivation and getting things done. The four tendencies are illustrated here:
If you would like to find out more about the model, and find out what tendency you are, you can take the quiz here.
If you discover that you have the tendency of an Obliger, and are more likely to meet expectations of others than of yourself, then a creativity coach, or a writers group with expectations may work well to motivate you to meet writing goals.
Upholders meet expectations, schedules, and deadlines imposed by themselves or others, and may need to learn to relax a bit to enjoy the process more.
Questioners need to find ways to motivate themselves that make sense to them. might tell themselves, “Just try it, it’s an experiment.” in order to test a writing schedule, or motivation to write at certain times. One person I know bought a Playmobile Advent calendar, and for every 2000 words written, she allowed herself to open a door. What a great idea! That would motivate me, but I might invest in this whiskey advent calendar instead.
Rebels do anything they want to do, but resist any kind of expectations, both from themselves and others, and might have to “trick” themselves into doing what they want to do. They need flexibility to set their own schedules and habits. Rebels want to express values through actions, so tying a habit to an important identity (such as successful author) can help.
Perhaps you are a person who already has good writing habits, always meets deadlines, and knows how to motivate yourself and keep yourself motivated. I would love to hear what works for you when you hit a slump or a tough place that threatened to keep you from meeting your writing goals.