Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Mind if I let my thoughts wander for a minute?

I heard of an interview recently where an author was asked, “What would you say to encourage new authors?”

He replied, “Nothing. I would discourage them, because good authors can’t be discouraged from writing.”

Kind of an odd thing to say, I guess, but it made me wonder if I can be discouraged from writing. Is there something someone somewhere could say to make me decide to completely stop trying?

I don’t think so.

That brings on the question, are you intrinsically motivated, or extrinsically motivated? Basically, are you motivated by what you think of your work, or what others think of your work?

Obviously a serious writer can’t ignore what everyone else says. It’s his/her job to provide quality stuff that people want to read, but that doesn’t have to be where the origin of the author’s motivation.

I’m definitely intrinsically motivated. I’d write even if I thought no one would ever read my stuff. But I also want to make a serious effort to become a fully established, successful, full-time author. I motivate myself, but I’ve got to provide writing people want. It’s an interesting balance.

Besides, one of my other motivations is to bless and help other people through writing. I can’t do that if my work isn’t interesting enough to read.


How about you? How are you motivated?