|image credit: Felicia Santos for morguefile|
Research nerd that I am, I went on the hunt for advice about how to get through the final marking period, ending strong without bloodshed. I tripped across a short e-book by life coach Dennis Bumgarner, Motivating Your Intelligent but Unmotivated Teenager. What I found most striking in his approach to the whole "movtivating" and "unmotivated" issue is his breakdown of why sticks and carrots rarely work, and also WHEN motivation happens.
Hold onto your hats, because this concept is a game changer:
"Performance precedes motivation."
Bumgarner argues that beginning a small piece of a task will motivate continued steps. Not cheerleading. Not rewards and punishments. Not lectures or logic.
I think this insight has broad applications for nearly every step of the writing, editing, submission, design/formatting, marketing parts of creating written work.
Trying to "get in the mood" to write or chasing one motivational strategy after another is a waste of time. Simply start a little something. You only discover the intrinsic rewards of writing by actually writing, not by dreaming about writing, talking about it with other writers, pinning pithy quotes on Pinterest, or whatever other supposedly motivation-building (but useless) strategy you've attempted.
Write some words, any words. Flow comes when you overcome that initial inertia.
What do you think of the maxim "performance precedes motivation"? Can you think of instances where this idea has proven true for you?