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Analyzing Your Motives, part 2 - The Motive Center
October 24th, 2004
10:38 pm


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Analyzing Your Motives, part 2
Unusually appropriate song, as you will see if you keep reading: Part two of my exercises to investigate your motives continues.

Possibly dangerous offer: if anyone is willing to post some of what they come up with (whatever they feel comfortable with, of course), I will take a shot at interpreting it live...or at least LiveJournal...assuming there aren't too many.

I'll stick to the Three Social Motives, which can be found of course on my website. Either post your lists here, or send them to me at steve@motivateyourwriting.com. If there is something you don't want posted, say so; otherwise I assume it is fair game!

And now, exercise #2...

Remember that motives what you spontaneously tend to think about, if all else is equal, because such thoughts are more satisfying, fun, emotionally engaging, or whatever. So:

2. What do you daydream about? Can you write it down in some detail? Not just “win a prize for my writing,” but “I picture myself going up and picking up the Hugo in front of a room full of cheering fans." Get past the simple fact and explain what makes this daydream fun, if you can. This is a clue to where your thoughts tend to go!

Note that everyone does have all three motives; it's a question of degree, not yes/no. Some people have some stronger than others. Generally all three are evenly distributed (though Affiliation is somewhat more common, which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective). It is more likely to have one strong one than two, etc.

One more part to go, and then maybe we'll discuss some examples!

Current Music: I Must Be Dreamin'

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 07:05 pm (UTC)
What do you daydream about?

Well, that's a loaded question if ever I saw one! I daydream about all sorts of stuff, some of which I think I'll just keep to myself thankyouverymuch.

I use my imagination to work out plots or negative energy. There are a few plots that I've been rehashing for years, changing a variable and then playing it forward to see what, if anything, changes. Some of the negative daydreams can be quite violent, but it's a safer way of coping than acting out at daily frustrations. Strange, but since I've moved away from the press and stress of the big city, those have become fewer and fewer. I seldom indulge in the "I go out and win" dreams. Not sure why, but those aren't on my top ten.

How much detail are you looking for? Not even sure that most of my shareable daydreams would work too well.

The movitation posts have been very interesting.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2004 07:21 pm (UTC)


Well, yes, you should keep some things to yourself! The point is to illustrate...

The idea is to discover what you spontaneously daydream about, as an indicator of how your thoughts go. Some people daydream about doing something better; others daydream about appearing on Oprah; others daydream about the perfect lover...etc. I have daydreamed about appearing on a panel at Worldcon with other writers, for example. I imagined being part of a panel of professional writers (who were impressive figures to me) and impressing the audience.

If it is easier, try the first exercise: what do you do for fun? Or even just: what do you read (or watch) for fun? And what makes it fun? If you read (say) science fiction, what do you like? The gadgets? The worlds? The intricate political paranoia of a C. J. Cherryh book or the magical lyricism of a Ray Bradbury? And so forth.

Incidentally, working out violence in daydreams is quite reasonable, and it works. People who admitted to violence in their imaginings were less likely to go and do it, assuming they worked it out rather than desensitizing themselves to it, of course.

Glad you've liked the motivation posts...I feel strongly that motivation is a really important and useful concept that isn't rocket science, so I want to share it. Let me know how I'm doing!
[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC)
Like loupnoir, I often daydream about plots. Another type of daydream - the 'rehearsal' daydream if you like, often relates to something I am going to do or wish I was going to do. Sometimes it's a result of anxiety at others it is wishful thinking - getting that acceptance from an agent, or a publisher that sort of thing. And then there's the total fantasy ones. The current one is a time travel one where I end up in 19th century Edinburgh and run into one of the characters in my novel. These are the fun ones. Quite what that means in terms of motivations I'm not sure, especially given that I was rather surprised at the outcome of the first exercise.

These are fun. :)
[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC)

Wishful thinking

Wishful thinking is exactly what I am looking for--since what you wish for is usually emotionally satisfying, no?

So getting acceptance from an agent or publisher may be Power/Influence or Achievement, depending on whether you see it as making an impact (getting visibility for your work) or proof of your quality (passing a test), respectively.

Not sure about the time travel fantasy. What makes it fun? What is the piece that is the most fun for you and why? Is it about having your characters react to you? Or you influence them?

Glad you think this is fun. I have to ask: what was the outcome of the first exercise? Did you get a pattern? You don't have to reveal anything, but are you willing to share what motives you thought you saw?
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