Monday, January 31, 2011

Motivation and Passion

Last week, I wrote about the call of the writer. Today, I want to focus on the difference between motivation and passion.

Merriam-Webster defines motivation as “a motivating force, stimulus, or influence.” It also refers to incentive and drive. All writers, by necessity, are driven to write. We wouldn’t create fantastical worlds or complex premises without drive. But in our day-to-day writing, how do we maintain motivation?

Some of us have book contracts (that wouldn’t include me---yet), others have word count goals or critique groups that keep them writing. Certainly deadlines can be a primary motivating factor.

Is motivation enough? Or do we need a good dose of passion to keep us firing on all cylinders on our way to completing a WIP.  It could be argued that without passion for your book or topic, motivation could wane or at least ebb and flow.

Personally speaking, I require a heavy dose of both to be successful. Without the passion for my story, to know my characters intimately and lead them through an adventure, no amount of motivation would be sufficient.

On the other hand, it’s very important to me to reach daily word count goals. To other writers, that’s not a big deal. I find it helps keep me on task and even if the words are pathetic garbage, I will have written SOMETHING. For someone without an agent or contract, trying to hone my craft and just get the words down, this is vital.

Where do you stand? Is motivation alone enough for you? Or is passion what drives you to see your projects to completion?


  1. I think for me the passion has to be there but the encouragement of other writers who are willing to read, critique, and then care about my work is a vital component. When they catch the excitement, and they "get" what I'm writing, it propels me forward.

  2. Both. But what motivates me might not motivate someone else. And you know me, Kirk, without passion I'm AWOL. And then there's the timing of what the Lord has me doing, when he has me in pause mode (the most difficult for me), when he opens the canal to let the inspiration rush onto the pages/screen . . . all those things contribute to motivation. But the passion must be present ALWAYS or I'm out of "here".

  3. Debbie - you make a great point about receiving encouragement from other writers. I think that's a key component in the long term "sanity" of any writer. Thanks for sharing.

    Nicole - I don't believe passion can ever be overestimated. Thanks for sharing. I want to see more passion from you! :)

  4. For me, I have been writing all of my life (since around age 5). I struggled with writing this. Feeling the need to write, but so frustrated at all the hard work. I quit over and over again. It wasn't until I was in my mid thirties that I realized that God gave me my talent for other people and not for myself. That was a big motivator. Last summer I received what is I believe my true calling as a write apologetic books for people who would not usually read them. I believe strongly that we are all called as Christians to defend our faith yet most of us do not have the right tools to do so. I have to put a dent in that. So God does motivate me. I have found that when I tried to keep track of what I write (word counts) I don't end up doing anything. But God really does lead me when to write and I just listen to him. If I don't I get nudged until I do. It makes it easy on me.