Thursday, June 7, 2012

Malicious Motivation

This past Tuesday I broke. My legs felt like lead rods. My stomach My head throbbed. Tears welled in my eyes as I blinked to fight them back. Fleeing the cozy living room, I rushed into the kitchen where my tears splashed on the wooden floor. Laying my face into my hands, I wept the stress away.

That entire evening I had berated myself for not accomplishing my goals for that day and the last. In fact, I berated myself even more for the extreme lack of progress I had made on those goals.

Looking back, I realize now that my goals were ridiculous. No, they weren't ridiculous, they were obscene. Ridiculous goals are laughable, but possible to achieve. My goals were obscene. I am looking for a summer job and so I spent the majority of Monday, and Tuesday looking for one, and then I spent more time helping my Dad construct a ramp, so, how could I expect to get a few thousand words written each day?

There is no doubt that I had the motivation to write. And perhaps that is what broke me. I pushed myself into a degree of motivation that is unhealthy. I pushed myself into obsession. I was obsessed with accomplishing ALL my goals, particularly my writing goals and I broke. The stress was too much. My motivation had turned into de-motivation.

Yet on Wednesday, when I relaxed and didn't set drastic goals for myself. I wrote 3000 words in one of my novels! This experience has taught me that, while goals are important, and motivation priceless, too much of both or either can do more harm than good. I encourage you, friends, be careful not to put too much stress on yourselves and become prey to malicious motivation.


  1. I can understand your situation. It happens to me a lot actually. I have learned that you have to schedule, plan and have plan B's. Life, esp when you have jobs, kids, relatives, spouses, and other events can cut in and derail writing time. And yes, it does frustrate the writer. But sometimes you have to take it all with a deep breathe. Writing time should actually be scheduled in a daily planner just like any other appointment, and that way you will do your best to keep that schedule because it is part of it. And yes, sometimes we need to make sure we set realistic goals. It is easy to stress ourselves, and it does more harm than good. We have to always try our best and that is all we can do. Take care, Josh!

    1. Thank you, Lena. I really do need to start planning times for my writing.


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