“Passion, not pedigree, will win in the end.”
There’s a story that my friend Coach Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard tell in their inspiring guide, 10 Things Great Coaches Know, about a well-known sports writer. This writer “took infinite care with every story. People marveled at his attention to detail and how much of himself he sacrificed to make his story just the way he wanted it. One day someone asked him what motivated him. He said, ‘Every time I write a story, I imagine that a Broadway star is going to be reading it tomorrow.’”
Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. And for us as writers, self-motivation is the name of the game: It’s the wellspring of our words — the headlongedness that pushes us to the desk and from word to word and paragraph to paragraph.
Sometimes motivation is dressed in the grand guise of a mission — something big and lofty that we’re aiming at, some distant goal that we are moving toward, word by word. But most of the time, motivation comes dressed in overalls. It’s about how we work day in and day out: what kind of energy we’re willing to pull out of ourselves even when we’re feeling tired or discouraged.
To stick with the sports imagery, the key to motivation isn’t focusing on a “big game,” it’s about putting passion and intent into our everyday practice. It’s about coming to the page ready to play — and willing to handle the fumbles, the fouls, the upsets, the false starts, the disappointments, the lost opportunities. Mostly, it’s about digging deep, especially on those days when the well of inspiration seems to be dry. It’s about writing on, even when we feel like giving up.
For more inspiring thoughts about discipline, practice, mental preparation, and peak performance, check out Coach Mike Tully’s terrific site: http://www.TotalGamePlan.com.