Self: I woke up beside the sea by Aimee HeartLadies and gentlemen. Today, I’d like to talk to you about motivation.

I find motivation to be a very fickle beast. Many freelancers are incredibly disciplined and view their to-do lists as a simple case of “do or die.” But what about the rest of us?

Plenty may be motivated by encouraging words. Others are motivated by examples set by their peers. And some of us aren’t moti-
vated at all. We simply go through the motions until a burst of energy spurs us to action. I fear I may be a member of this last group.

I know it sounds odd, but let me explain.

Like most people who enjoy feigning the appearance of an organized life, I keep a daily, weekly and monthly to-do list. At times, I have wonderfully productive days where I cross off items with haste and flair. And other days, I’m lucky to tick off more than one item at all.

I know many of you won’t find any of that shocking, but as I said, motivation is a fickle beast. Why? Because at stranger times, something remarkable happens. There are days when I find myself moving … no, feverishly leaping from task to task at what only could be described as ludicrous speed.

I knock out a 1200-word article in 90 minutes. I cull all the research for a query I only conceived that morning. I mop my kitchen and bathroom floors without a nary a gripe. And all of this before lunch.

It’s not until I sit down after writing the next blog post, vacuuming every room in the house, and hitting send on half-a-dozen e-mails that I realize my motivation has been through the roof. And a part of me can’t help but wonder: Is this how more successful freelancers work on a daily basis?

Naturally, this line of thought triggers a shame spiral. Then, to cheer myself up I re-read one of Hyperbole and a Half’s most ingenious comics ever.

After I have a good laugh at my own expense, I return to the question at hand. Is reaching the next level of success being impeded by a lack of motivation or just laziness?

Instead of beating myself up over this dilemma, I’ve decided to put the question to you, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Have you ever found yourself ensnared in odd, superhuman moments of productivity?
  • Do you consider your daily level of motivation strong and steady with very few ups and downs?
  • Are creative professionals making excuses for non-productivity? Or is the desire to make next month’s rent simply not motivation enough?

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this issue. Am I the only one prone to these Barry Allen-type moments?