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If You’re Lacking Motivation, Read This

If You’re Lacking Motivation, Read This

I used to think of myself as not very ambitious. Having pretty much always wanted to be a writer (apart from my brief sojourn into fashion design in my early teens – I’m glad those drawings have never seen the light of day), I found it hard to break into the industry. Obviously, like most modern-day jobs, you can’t get a job without previous work experience, but you can’t get work experience without a job. I didn’t have much of a portfolio to speak of, because I had never been published.

What I didn’t realise at the time, was if you can’t get someone else to hire you to do the job, you should just do the job anyway. This website, as fickle as it sounds to some that I am indeed a blogger, has actually brought me several jobs. I have never written for the New York Times, or Refinery29, or been published in the Paris Review – but I hope to be some day. The point is, those writers published on massive outlets didn’t start writing for the NYT straight off the bat. They started by writing in notebooks for themselves, just like I did, and gradually working their way up the ladder.

For several years I struggled to be able to call myself a writer, even though I knew that’s what I was, and am, and always will be, because I hadn’t actually written anything that others had read. I was scared to put my work out there, especially since as a poet in high school and university, writing can come off way too earnest, too honest – and usually quite terrible.

Half of the courage in writing comes not from putting your thoughts down on paper, but volunteering those thoughts to be read by someone that will – not maliciously, and not on purpose – judge you for what you have written. Whether they think it’s good, whether they relate to it, whether you really think what you have written down.

Starting this website for me was a huge leap in faith on my part, not because I didn’t know if I could write, but because I had never published work that was written in the way I wanted to write it. Sure, I had my poetry and short stories critiqued by fellow students at university, but I have always known I wanted to be a writer in a more colloquial sort of way, a magazine writer, one that connects with people exactly as I am; not just as a fictional character that I have written, living a life that is not mine.

When I published my first article on this outlet, I was scared that friends and family thought I was trying to be something of an influencer – and who would want to listen to my opinion? I’m just some girl, loved by some, thought silly by others I’m sure – what would I have to offer the world though my writing?

Gradually as I continued writing articles twice a week – and after a year of writing bi-weekly articles that range from 600-1500 words – this is probably the most often I have ever written in my life, and I’m not bored of it in the slightest. I was lucky in that respect that I know writing and connecting with people through the written word was my calling, and I’m grateful that throughout my life of soul-searching and trying different personalities on for size – in all my uncertainty in life, I always had, and will have, this.

The more I wrote, the more confident I became, and not just due to practice making perfect. I love a bit of external validation, and having acquaintances come up to me and praising my work definitely helped! With a little confidence, and a growing portfolio I reached out to local magazines, hoping for them to even give me the time of day. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by editors making time to meet me, to hire me, and today one of those editors have expressed that I am “the most professional writer on my roster. I always know I will receive great work from you.”

I went from being an uncertain and unconfident twenty-something, lolling about at home, unsure of her place in the world and feeling professionally unworthy, to someone today who writes for multiple outlets (and of course my own), businesses looking for content, and is negotiating with two different companies for a full-time writing job. I want to do it all.

A couple of years ago, having only one full-time job exhausted me, and I came home each day needing to recharge, and struggling to catch up with socialising and sleep on the weekends. I couldn’t fathom having a full-time job and a growing business on the side – one full-time job was enough. I’ve come to realise that because at the time I was not doing what I wanted to do, and not writing at all was draining me, and I felt like I just couldn’t catch up. Today, I feel invigorated at the fact of working more than your average, because (and I know you’ll hate me for saying this, but I’m sorry, it’s true) writing doesn’t feel like a job to me. It’s fun! I enjoy it! I work at nighttime and on weekends and it doesn’t feel like work.

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Confidence begets motivation. Two years ago, I didn’t feel like a writer and the thought of getting a job filled me with anxiety. Today, I am a writer, and I’m hoping to have two jobs within the next month – because I want to.

Follow what you’re good at, and what you like to do. I don’t know why I spent so much time faffing about not believing in myself – if there’s anything you should take away from this, is to get up and do it yourself. I believed that I wasn’t good at writing because no magazines would hire me, so eventually I strapped up my boots and did it myself. I wrote what I wanted to write, on this website that I dreamed up. It is not an outlet of Condé Nast, for sure, but it gave me the confidence to write what I liked, and get hired by the magazines that I was trying to write for in the first place, because they liked my work i.e. my blog that earns me no money and that I do as a passion project, i.e. my work. Just because you don’t get paid for it, doesn’t mean it’s not work, and that it’s not worthwhile. Just look at mothers and stay-at-home wives around the globe.

If anyone is feeling not worthy or capable in their passions or hobbies, the answer is to keep doing it, keep practicing, and to put yourself out there. It takes one leap of faith to be willing to be judged by others, and then from then on it’s just satisfaction – for doing what you want to do, and create connection with others who like what you do. There will always be people who think you are shit, but you should take comfort in that fact, because there is also an audience out there for everyone – whether you are a train-spotting writer, a potter selling your work on Etsy, or a 13-year-old girl selling your art as NFTs. Get out there. Take the leap. Stop talking about it, and do it. I promise you’ll succeed. With following your passion, comes confidence, which breeds motivation.

Feature image via Instagram