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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Friday motivation

So there’s this work thing. Every Friday the creative team gathers for one hour of work-avoidance and general mayhem. Basically, we watch YouTube videos, eat chips and try to speak over each other.

It’s become more structured since we started doing this, so now each session has a specific theme that ranges from Getting Inspired and Design Trends to Show and Tell and Survivor. Today’s theme was Motivation, so each person had to present the ten things that motivate him or her. Most people picked family, church and money, others went for the all-popular chocolate, and more than one seemed to be inspired by some form of alcoholic drink. (Frozen lime margarita for me please.)

I took the task quite literally and spoke about what gets me up in the morning, which is coffee, cartoons and breakfast (in that order) and then what makes me want to come to work (haha). But after listening intently to what everyone said, I’ve started wondering what really motivates me.

What motivates me to write, to pass on spelling-error riddled drafts to other people, to want my book on the shelves?

The simple answer is that I just do it.

When I’m writing a novel I don’t think about the reviews and the people that might not like it. I write because I want to and because I feel like I have a story to tell.

Maybe this indifference is a type of motivator. There’s a great quote by Bill Cosby that goes:

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

When I was little I used to make up stories to entertain myself, but writing becomes harder the older you get. When you grow up your mind becomes cluttered by doubt and other people’s criticisms. I suppose that’s when you start second-guessing yourself.

It’s important to never, ever think you’re not good enough.

J.K. Rowling never studied Creative Writing and she’s the most successful writer in the world. This is what she said to Harvard University graduates:

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

I find that pretty motivating. In fact I’m inspired by everything J.K. Rowling does, even writing under a pseudonym. It shows that she doesn’t care about the fame or the attention, all that matters is writing the story. And that’s what defines me, the story.

This is my process: I keep writing. I ask questions. I don’t stop. When opportunities arise I grab them, and I celebrate every single achievement no matter how small it is.

This is my dream, and there’s no one in the world that can stop me from chasing it. Virginia Woolf thought so too:

A woman is to have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

I can’t think of a greater motivation than independence.


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