Thursday, January 7, 2010

Motivation is not the same as Inspiration

Today, I would like to reflect on the difference between 'motivation' and 'inspiration'. I think that the two concepts are quite different despite the fact that inspiration can propel motivation and help us bring about our writing goals.
Motivation is the reason behind one's actions or behaviors. So, for instance, if you intend to write a book in a year, you should be motivated to perform the regular writing tasks in order to produce the manuscript. Inspiration, on the other hand, is the ability to feel something behind the activity. Its like a coloured landscape instead of a grey and white one.
Thus, it is not enough for a writer to be motivated to write; (s)he must also be inspired to write in order for the project to get completed. I believe that reasons alone are not sufficient for a writer to bring about his/her writing projects over the long-term. The writer must also be inspired and have a passion to write. Passion is very necessary in that it flavours the writers motivations and gives them significance. Let me explain.
Consider the following scenario. Say you prepare a wonderful stew but you forget to put salt, pepper and some spices in your stew. Although you love stew, it tastes bland. You eat it the first day but it doesn't give you any real enjoyment. The next day, you have some leftover stew but you don't want to eat it. So, you decide to order Pizza instead and try to eat it the next day. However, the next day you can't face the stew either. Ultimately, you throw the stew away because you can't bear the thought of eating it.
We can say similar things about writing with inspiration. When you write merely from a motive to do so, your writing may be bland. And although you may be able to stick to a writing schedule for a few days, you won't be able to stick to it for longer than that because you are not inspired to write. It just becomes a bland activity that isn't seasoned that you perform without much passion.
So fellow writers, why not season your writing goals with inspiration. Your daily practice will be much more meaningful and consistent when it isn't bland and you will look forward to it as you would look forward to a nice warm, salty and spicy slice of Pizza.
Happy New Year, and may you find not only the motive to write but also the inspiration!

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