Staying Motivated with your Personal Project

Hunting for our dreams, blindly ploughing through our task lists in autopilot mode, we sometimes run the risk of loosing the creative fire to go on.  In this blog post, I will share with you one of my tricks of how to stay motivated.

Disney Infinity figures

Back in school, I used to have the habit of buying myself something I really wanted to have (given I had saved enough pocket money) once I had passed an exam. This meant, that I would not buy the new Marilyn Manson CD, or the newest Wild C.A.T.S. comic until I had passed.

Wild C.A.T.S. comic cover



Even though I always had good grades, I never saw the point of getting good grades other than having good grades and being good in what I was doing at that moment. It sounds stupid now, but that was the way I functioned. And to keep myself motivated, I connected my grades to some kind of reward. Like buying comics. Or, on very special occasions, going to the cinema – mostly with my father, who loves movies as much as I do. 🙂

As a grown up, with responsibilities and duties to fulfil, we sometimes loose the point of it all. Have you ever been pushing through the seventh chapter of your novel and asked yourself:

Why am I doing this?

You are doing this for yourself. And yes, working on the things you love is a reward in itself. But it does not do any harm, if you give yourself a little motivational push every now and then – when you have reached a milestone for example! This does not mean, that I want to connect joy or pleasure with spending money, it’s more like:

Hey, I´ve reached the next step. That’s awesome! This thing is moving forward. Let’s celebrate that!

And it’s ok. As long as there really is something to celebrate and as long as it is not something that puts a giant hole in your pocket. Because: The final reward will be that you have finished your project.

At some point, these little rewards might be the most manifest things that motivate you to push your project to the next milestone. Like the next time you ask youself “Why am I doing this?”. If a project has been going on for a long time, it is hard to keeping your focus on the end result. And that’s where little rewards can help. And one milestone after the other, you’ll get your baby done.

For example, I have been sneaking around the Disney Infinity figures for several months now. One of the shop assistants was already giving me these suspecting looks every time I was wandering through the toy section – something that happens rather often to me for some reason. Maybe it has something to do with what I look like at the moment 🙂

director and writer John E. Brito

Hm, notice some likeness?

As these figures are not very cheap (they come with a code and are meant to be played within the Disney Infinity XBox/Playstation/Wii – virtual environment) it is not the most economically wise decision to buy these. Even if you play the game, it is a very expensive hobby (but extremely interesting from a marketing and media science point of view, but that´s another story). Nonetheless, I love the look and feel of these characters.

Infinity figures

Infinity figures

Disney Infinity figures

I finished three huge chunks of my fairytale book, Below the Floor, in the last months and one day there was an add in my mail, saying that the figures were 50% off. And I thought:

What the heck, I´m gonna get these now!

Disney Infinity figures

Ok, that was a nice story, but what’s the point?

The point is, that it is very hard to stay motivated when you have been working for a long time on a (personal) project without any external pressure. Little rewards (the expectation of getting them as well as already having them) can help you to celebrate the milestones of your project as well as keep you motivated to going on.

What do you think of this? What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Leave a comment below!


PS: I am sorry for being late with this post, life is very crazy right now. But I hope, that everything will be back to normal within some weeks. And hey, I´m finishing a book! Life is great!

Wishing you all the best, and thank you for your patience. 🙂


3 responses to “Staying Motivated with your Personal Project

  1. This actually helps me and makes me think of the next project that I will do in uni. Thanks, might try this as a way of getting things done. It is certainly hard to stay motivated when you are an adult, I think it is because we tend to think more materialistically and about others rather than ourselves.


    • That’s true. I guess that the more adult we grow, the more we think about the people next to us and less about ourselves. I do not mean, that we should get more egoistic. You know, it’s more like “it’s ok to switch off your worries for 1.5 hours now and watch two episodes of the Walking Dead” or “what the heck, I haven’t spent that much money in the last time, it’s ok to buy some of this awesome Tombow brush pens”. As long as we don’t do it all the time 🙂


  2. Pingback: Lessons Learned from Creating a First Children’s Book – II | I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog·

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