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What should drive you?

I’ve written a couple of times about whether “you’re good enough” or “why you should write“, but perhaps more importantly… what should be your motivation? What should drive you to write? This will, of course, differ from person to person, but I think there’s a couple of things that should be common to all forms of motivation – regardless of whether you’re writing a book, making music, doing a sport, running a marathon, or just trying to lose weight.

And what are those ever important components of motivation? Courage and persistence.

Now, you’ll probably read this and think that courage isn’t really a driving factor – nobody does something because they want to be seen as courageous (well… I’m sure some people do, but this isn’t the point of this article). And the same goes for persistence – it’s common among people with strong drive, but i isn’t necessarily a driving factor in and of itself.

But therein lies the rub. You can’t have the success that you want without it.

This is the point I want to make in this article. As a write, I’ve spent a great deal of time worrying about bad reviews, negative feedback, or even holes in my stories. Only this morning I discovered a hole in one of my works that I hadn’t considered before. At first, I was mortified. But then I realised… it doesn’t necessarily matter. We all make mistakes. In fact, we are bound to make mistakes.

It’s getting back up – in the face of this perceived “danger” – that’s what matters.

Think about your favourite writer, artist, wrestler, whatever – it doesn’t matter who, as long as they have succeeded and are an inspiration to you. Whoever they are, they are at the top of their game. But they weren’t always. In fact, we often forget about (because we aren’t always privy to) everything it took for them to get here. When they first started out, they almost certainly stumbled. They were likely rejected. Ridiculed. They took their bumps, but they got back up.

Were they worried that perhaps they weren’t good enough? That perhaps they weren’t cut out for this? I’m absolutely sure they were. But they didn’t give up – they knew that this was who they were and this was what they wanted, and they didn’t give up.

The only people that make it are the ones that don’t give up.

Consider running a marathon. The road is long and hard, and many give up before they reach the end (although it should be said that some are unable to reach the end due to injury… but they are outside of the scope of this analogy). And for those that reach the end? The rest of the road fades into obscurity. Gone, but not forgotten (by the person, that is).

And for me? I’ve already given up running a marathon. That’s a goal I’m not likely to ever achieve, and I’m ok with that. That’s not who I want to be.

Now, there are outliers. There are extraordinary people among us that perhaps did not fail – they succeeded with their first novel, artwork, song, whatver. But these people are few and far between – it does not do you well to model your goals on their success. Some suceeded with a mixture of skill, luck, and damned good timing, while others are simply extraordinary. One in a billion. Neither is a likely outcome. Just saying…

The point is – none of us are really equipped to truly know if we will succeed. And the marketplace (for books at least) is so vast that initial “failure” is almost certainly guaranteed (depending on your idea of success and failure, of course). If you truly know that this is what you want for yourself, and that this is who you are – that you want to get your stories, art, whatever it is that you do out into the world – then you need to get on your feet and put it out there, and you need to expect to be knocked down.

And then you need to get back up and do it again.

And again.

And again.

Because it’s through courage – and persistence – that we reach the end of the marathon. Through courage, persistence, and vision, you get determination. And through determination and willpower, you’ll have a driving force that nothing can stop.

You got this. Never stop never stopping.

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