motivation is a farce

Motivation is a farce (and here’s why)

Here’s the thing about motivation:

It’s a delusion. It’s not a strategy. 

If you’re relying on “motivation” — or on her even more flighty little sister “inspiration” — to propel you through the work of writing, you’re going to have a hard time reaching your goals.

Are you still relying on motivation to get your freelance writing stuff done? That's a failing strategy, and here's why.Motivation is a feeling, and one defining characteristic of feelings is that they come and go.

But what doesn’t come and go? Some answers:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Debt obligations
  • The biological imperative to eat

If you’ve got freelancing goals, whether it’s building your client roster or breaking into a new market, you can’t rely on motivation, inspiration, or even willpower to get the work done.

These are all fleeting states of mind. They’re fickle and unreliable.

And “fickle and unreliable” makes a terrible foundation for anything you’re trying to build, whether it’s a business, a habit, or an important change.

Relying on motivation is a recipe for frustration, lackluster results, and even utter failure. (Granted, failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, provided you’ve got means to take care of those aforementioned things like mortgage payments and groceries.)

The alternative to motivation

If you want better to show for yourself, rely on something more powerful than motivation or any of its family members:

  • Set a non-negotiable schedule with built-in deadlines so you have a measure of accountability. Require yourself to send X number of pitches each week or come up with Y number of blog post ideas each day.
  • Create a system for brainstorming, outlining, and developing your content ideas so you don’t have to restart your flow every time you sit down.
  • Don’t let your working time be optional. Block it out and don’t “try to decide” if you’ll work on marketing or business-building or training — you’ve already decided. Put it on your calendar and don’t shove it off when the time comes.
  • Layer in some accountability. If you’ve got someone holding your feet to the fire, non-negotiable things become truly non-negotiable. You’ve got nowhere to go but up!

Do the work, and the work gets done. Wait to be motivated to do the work, and you’ll be waiting a long time.


Motivation absolutely doesn't work. Here's what DOES work, ESPECIALLY for freelance writing."Motivation" will never get you where you want to go (ESPECIALLY if you want to be a freelance writer). Here's what to do instead.
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Ashley (24) (1)

After working with dozens of brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs as a freelance writer, I learned a thing or two about great content. Now I bring my years of experience, practice, and self-study to bloggers and businesses that want to nail it in the content game.


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2 thoughts on “Motivation is a farce (and here’s why)”

  1. Pingback: Self-sabotage and the work-at-home freelancing mom

  2. Pingback: How to Find Motivation as a Freelance Writer — Ashley Gainer

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