The question is going around the blogosphere, prompted by a post at BookEnds.
I've been thinking, lately, about motivation. I've often said that money motivates me, but that's not quite true. In fact, if you read the studies, money does not motivate employees all that much, not as much as benefits and atmosphere, and all the other stuff.
And when organizations look for help? Volunteers will gladly do things, but if you pay them a little bit, then they will monetize it and say it's not worth doing. Strange, that, but true.
Y'all know I've had difficulty motivating myself to write a spy thriller, when I'm making money from pseudonym, money that's definitely needed. Luckily, I have a break in my schedule for a little while, but ... still.
Getting published doesn't motivate me, because I feel I am. Getting my real name in Borders doesn't motivate me, because I've done that. Getting more money kinda motivates me, but that's not a sure thing and it comes with a huge risk of getting none. Getting readers doesn't motivate me, because I already have them.
So I've been lolly-gagging on my "real name" career.
The other week the editor for another anthology emailed me, and, well, truthfully, those doesn't make that much money. When you add in the research (re-reading 18 books!), it may be 4,000 words, but ... it takes at least a whole month.
BUT, I love my editor. I learned so much, last time. I'm thrilled to do it, for mostly that reason, and also because the message of my essay is something I feel deeply.
Then, the other day, when Erica was talking about her editor? I realized: how cool would it be to work with a brilliant editor on a novel? How cool would it be to have an agent who wouldn't mind brainstorming with me? How cool would it be to have those opportunities to take my writing to the next level?
I don't believe you can "wait" for an editor to take your work to the next level, don't get me wrong. I think you need to get what you have perfect, and then better than perfect, so an editor can point out the things you can't see.
Anyway, since I had this realization, I've been totally motivated. I am SO excited by the thought--it feels like when I was practicing my fingers off to get into conservatory. I want to LEARN!
Getting published is a thing. It's not really a real thing. It's just a thing that's out there, kind of separate. The readers are another thing. They change the way you write, and that's cool. They're joys and cake and dessert. But all that stuff doesn't ever feel real to me. I've always known that, but ...
I've never put two and two together: I had to find a different motivation.
What motivates you? And if it's getting published, that's cool. It's a thrill, a roller coaster ride. I don't mean to say otherwise.