I’m going to go out on a limb this week and start the post with an opinion; one’s motivation has a direct correlation with fulfillment. We all have reasons for our pursuits. My belief is quite simple. If you do something for the right reason, that something is, in and of itself, your reward.
Our motivations can be as varied as our individual personalities. However, there are two motives that I consider to be on opposite ends of the spectrum—passion and money. And though it’s certainly appropriate to chase after a dream for both reasons, successfully achieving this goal is elusive indeed. I know a handful of people who can lay claim to both in a singular pursuit, but their numbers are sparse. Therefore, I will treat them as separate entities.
My goal is to write fiction full-time, but the following discussion could certainly apply to any career. Suffice to say, I’m not independently wealthy. Therefore, I must continue on with my present, full-time career for now. The bills must be paid. As a result, I rise at 5 AM most mornings and retire around 11:30 PM most evenings. I utilize as many of these early and late night hours as I can writing, editing, etc.
My motivation is passion.
I have a fellow writer friend who we will call “Steve” for the purposes of this article. Steve truly believes he will excel in his new endeavor by churning out novel after novel. Granted, he is a very prolific author and a good one. His journey on the writer’s road is at roughly the same point as my own. It’s just beginning.
His motivation is money.
Our initial goals are one and the same … to become successful authors. After that, the similarities end. Don’t get me wrong—I do wish to be compensated financially for my writing. This is an objective of most career choices, but it’s not my motivation. And Steve does indeed like to write. He just wishes for a career that’s not too strenuous, carries a certain level of prestige, and promises a lucrative windfall. Steve makes no bones about it. His most prominent concern is the money. Ha!
Thus begins the meat and potatoes of this week’s post, ladies and gentlemen.
I’ll state right up front that my friend is well aware of my stance, as we have debated this topic at length. He respects my view and has given me his blessing to use our differences of opinion and outlook for my blog post. In deference to him, let me start with his perspective.
Steve’s ebook went live roughly the same time as my own and has sold equally as well. Yet, he is very disappointed with his numbers so far. My guesstimate is that he checks his sales a minimum of 16 to 18 times a day. He then complains that more people should be buying his book. After all, he certainly pushes it enough. I’m sure it appears on Twitter at least forty times per day. However, I’ve yet to see him immersed in a conversation that wasn’t about his book. He is very aggressive with promotion, making sure his novel pops up everywhere. Steve will tell you how hard he has worked to write a great book and that people owe him a read. Personally, I feel he’s achieved great success thus far. It’s not enough for Steve.
It will never be enough.
He is constantly stressed out and discouraged. Personally, I fear Steve will wash out of this new career as things just aren’t happening fast enough. He sprinted off from the starting blocks and is now looking a tad bit winded.
My journey, approach, and experience differs greatly from Steve’s. Though I’ve certainly encountered stressful days, my experience has been one of pleasure and excitement. I wrote my novel because the subject matter fought its way out of my soul and on to the electronic page. My work is an extension of my voice and my feelings concerning topics that I’m passionate about. Completing my book was victory number one. Unlike Steve, I feel a brand new victory every day, every time someone chooses to give my novel a shot. I’m truly humbled by it, as these people owe me nothing.
Many of the folks who have been kind enough to support my work are those who I’ve developed a relationship with. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and the like have been a virtual joy for me. The people I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with have been kind and giving. If and when they choose to check out my work, it will be just that…their choice, not a favor I’ve asked or some sort of coercion. Granted, it may be a form of marketing to talk shop with fellow authors, and I certainly wish for my work to be read, but I’ll not ask for their time. It belongs to them. Friendship is the goal and passion its motivation.
Lead with passion and you may find people identify with you and relate to your work. Passion is an energy that’s undeniable and contagious. I’m not saying that I don’t promote my book directly—I certainly do. I just try to do so gradually, so as not to overwhelm those who use social media for just that—being social. I truly value the connections and friendships I’m making along the way. My book is definitely going to come along for the ride. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m in this for the long haul. It’s a marathon for me. I’ll continue to pace myself and enjoy the scenery. There will be highs and there will be lows. I’m OK with that.
I’m not in this for the fame or the glory…I’m in it because I love it and because I want to be heard.
Are you listening Steve?
As always, I welcome any comments, feelings and input you may have after reading this week’s post. Thank you for taking the time to visit. I’m @threecifer on Twitter. By all means, give me a shout if the feeling moves you.
All the best, AB