September 15th, 2010

Think about your dream job. I mean your all-time, number-one, could-do-absolutely-anything-you-want dream job. If you can't think of one right off the top of your head, don't worry. Here are some ideas I pulled out of my newspaper's classified ads for you:

  • WANTED: Man or woman, age 21 to 129, to taste-test new chocolate candy recipes. Twenty hours per week. $120K/year and up.
  • GREAT OPPORTUNITY: Are you a real go-getter? Because we need someone to go get our coffee. Up to two hours per week. $1,750/hr.
  • NEEDED: Highly-motivated individual to stress test beach chairs in the Bahamas. Travel expenses and per diem included. May be required to test beer and/or margaritas up to 10% of the time. Starting rate: $6,000/month. Winters off.

While your dream job sounds kind of nice, let's face it: sooner or later every job becomes a job. You may find it incredulous that anyone could tire of tasting chocolate or fetching coffee or even sitting around on the beach. But sooner or later it happens.

It may be happening to you right now: as a writer or (like me) a writer-wannabe. You like writing. You would love to do it full time, even on the beach with beer up to 10% of the time. So why, even if you're not getting paid for it right now, do you have trouble staying motivated with your dream job (or dream job to be)?

Because sooner or later every job becomes a job. Our brains seem to be pre-wired to want to do "something else." It's the seed behind, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." If I just could go over there instead of here life would be perfect.

Sometimes you just need to trick yourself into staying motivated. For me in comes in the form of "time wasting." Sure, I may be tired at the end of a long day. I may just want to unwind in front of the television or simply go to bed. Or I could try and get that twenty minutes in. But how? I have no motivation.

Well, my answer to that involves playing a little Jedi Mind Trick on myself. I think to myself, "What will they say at your funeral? 'Charlie was a great guy. He watched a bunch of TV shows. Let's hear it for Charlie!'" No. They won't say that. They'll say, "Charlie was a great guy. He wrote all those great books that billions of people loved. Let's hear it for Charlie!"

Then it's fairly easy to make the right choice. I flip on the television because I shudder at the thought of signing that many books.

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5 Responses to “Staying Motivated”

  1. Tami says:

    Taking the long view is a great way to stay motivated. You might even photoshop yourself up a little tombstone graphic and tape it above your computer so you can see it. =]

    It works that way with dieting, too. Right NOW, I want chocolate. I want to go downstairs and buy a cookie and a candy bar, and the only thing stopping me is looking to the future and seeing what that behavior leads to down the line. Future me is jumping up and down and begging me to stay where I am and sip my tea. She wants to go rock climbing and horseback riding, and she can't do that if I let my snacktastic taste buds have their way.

    Getting back to the blog post - you're absolutely right that even the most perfect job in the world is still a JOB.

    Very few people wake up every morning and skip their merry, whistling way to work.

    A lot of writers dream of the day they can walk into the office of their boss, throw down their resignation, and embark on the magical journey of the published writer.

    Everything I've read written by published writers assures me that you're right. It's a JOB. It's an amazing, fantastic, glorious job and sometimes it is agonizing and dreadful.

    I also think it is totally going to be worth it. <3

  2. Jason says:

    A billion books is a lot, but it's nothing like two billion. I'm not sure it's even half any more.

    I wonder if you're psychic, because I was having this very conversation with the Most Glorious Spousal Unit (title stolen from You Know Who) the other day.

  3. I completely understand where you are coming from. I am a writer wannabe as well. But I do it because I enjoy it. I know nothing really about getting people to my site though. I would love someone to visit and leave a comment. But regardless if no one reads my articles...I write for myself and still have fun. Stay motivated.