No More Motivation, Please

I recently went through an unfollow spree on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. I stopped following those people/companies that consistently post “Daily Inspirational Quotes of the Day” and listicles titled “5 Ways to Become a Morning Person.”

About a little over a year ago, I went through a follow spree, adding these motivational and empowering accounts to my daily news feeds. I had just graduated from college and was breaking into the online writing world, as well as ringing up groceries and being somewhat unsure of what the hell I was going to do with my life. This was, in part, because everyone was asking me, “So, what are you going to do with your life?” and in part because I was pretty sure the only job I was qualified for was copy editing and copy editing for a living would probably kill me. I love my Oxford commas and red carrots in between words, but I also love action, which is why journalism appealed to me in the first place.

But in the immediate weeks (which gradually turned into 6 months) post-graduation and without a full-time job, class schedule, or routine, I was searching. I was turning to a lot of Netflix and running long miles to get me through days that didn’t have a pattern. I also turned to blogs and blogging, inserting myself in the world of beautyguru.coms and Youtube mindlessness and also quotes that would remind me I needed to “Believe in the person I wanted to become.” I should also “never look back because I am not going that way.”

Oh, and don’t forget, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible.’”

(Thank you, Audrey Hepburn, for that last one. I do love that quote despite how much it annoys me now.)

So I was engulfed in this world of positivity for a while, clinging to Pinterest boards and life coach websites that encouraged me to always be a powerful lady and never. give. up.

I needed that, I guess, during the time when I didn’t feel so powerful. Reading the quotes and articles on how to improve my life were comforting, but they were also a lot of empty stock photography splashed with fonts that look like handwriting. I read way, way too many blog posts about how to increase traffic to my site and the best way to manage social media and OH MY GOD there are so many ways to be happier. Did any of us every stop to think — why do we need so many articles teaching us how to be happy? Have we forgotten how to do it without a .com that sums up how to drastically change your life in 7 DIY steps?

I had forgotten. That’s why I was resorting to the Internet to make me happy, and not actual things that used to make me happy.

I also wrote a lot of those very articles I am criticizing right now and spent too much time refreshing the page, this WordPress page, devastated with how many page views I didn’t get and never being happy that I had even one. I felt like I couldn’t call myself a writer unless I was publishing weekly, on several different platforms, for various pubs — because real writers these days are all over the Internet, literally. So I was all over the Internet for a while, even after I finally got a full-time job. I would come home from work and type some more, writing for four publications and blogging (sometimes twice a week) on the side. I was writing, but I didn’t feel like a writer.

So I recently quit the publications for which I was a staff writer. My goals are smaller now — less about word counts, page views, and comments. The numbers aren’t really in the equation anymore. Which makes sense, I guess, because I am a writer who can’t remember the times tables from fourth grade.

My new goals?

Stop reading the listicles about changing life in 10 steps or less.
Stop writing those, too.
Don’t follow Instagram accounts that post daily motivational quotes.
Stop trying to motivate myself — instead, time to do something.
And if that something is write, that is good. That means I have my soul back again.

The good news is, today I wanted to write this.

13 thoughts on “No More Motivation, Please

  1. So many people need to read this post. I needed to read this. It’s kind of ironic that I continually turn to the internet for entertainment and inspiration and happiness when I know that nine times out of ten I’m going to be miserable by the time I shut my laptop. Because I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Because I spent way longer than the hour I had intended to spend online. Because staring at a screen too long just plain makes me irritable.

    You’re right: Why don’t we just go out and do what makes us happy?


  2. Precisely! You articulated that frenzied dance superbly. Disengaging from external stimuli (at least for a time, and regularly) is sometimes the best strategy for increased happiness and joy (therefore, success) in your field. Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post Alexandra! Thank you for sharing. I feel this way so often… I am constantly reading “inspirational” quotes or posts and I feel like I need to make all of these big changes immediately, but that is so unreasonable. I go through phases where I am so for them and so against them. Great outlook on it!

    By the way, I nominated you for The Creative Blogger Award 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this. I feel like the more we just live, get out, do things, explore, MOTIVATION will come naturally rather than forced. When I am always trying to motivate myself, I also get frustrated. Thanks for sharing.


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