It took about two lessons for her to lose interest. She didn't like the violin. It was a chore to get her to practice. I had to physically lift her out of the bed and put her in the shower for her to get to her Saturday class on time, and half the times we were late. She would prefer to clean her room, vacuum the carpet, read a book, and clean the toilets, than to practice the violin.
This semester, after much pleading (ok, not that much), I decided not to waste my hard earned money signing her up for another semester of violin.
Then she tells me, “Mommy, since I won’t be doing violin anymore, can you sign me up for piano?”
Quite naturally my response was a resounding, “Hell no!”
Why would I waste my money on piano lessons when she would just tire of it after two lessons? She did that with ballet and tap, she did it with soccer. She had no stick-to-itiveness. So as a concession to her, I bought her a Casio keyboard for Christmas.
She loved it. She got on it and started picking out tunes by ear, figuring them out on her own by trial and error. Since Christmas, there hasn’t been a day when she didn’t practice or try to learn some new song on the piano.
This morning she came to me all excited. She had figured out how to play “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”.
I listened as she plucked out the tune. Then she looked up at my smiling appreciative face and asked, “So Mommy can I have piano lessons now?”
I contemplated her request for a while, then I said no. You see, I realized that my daughter was very much like me. If I desired it, I was motivated to accomplish it. But the moment it became mandatory, it lost all appeal.
As a kid, I loved to see my sister and her friend crochet. I wanted to learn it, but being left-handed made it difficult for them teach me. I asked one of my teachers who had mastered the craft. She too found it difficult to teach a left-hander. Finally while a teenager I took up an instruction book and taught myself to crochet. It was gratifying. I crocheted one doily and that was it. I was no longer interested. The motivator was the desire to teach myself what others failed to teach me.
When I started writing, it was because I loved it. I wanted to share my stories with the world, so I set about publishing them. And I was so motivated, that I couldn’t wait to sit down at my computer and write. But a few months ago, I decided to take the advice of many of my fellow novelnauts and approach my writing as a job. I set myself lofty goals of writing a certain amount each night. If I didn’t make my quota, I felt anxious, even a little down. My writing was becoming exactly like…a job. It was a chore that I had to do and it lost its appeal. I found myself succumbing to every distraction and finally a month went by when I didn’t type a word.
Over the holidays I decided to forget all my quotas, all my expectations and write like I did before being published. Well whaddya know, I advanced more on my WIP that I did for the better part of the year. That’s the power of desire. It is the ultimate motivator.
What is your ultimate motivator?