I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the things I do and understanding my motivations. I am uncertain if this is because I am nearing 40 and having some kind of crisis. Or that I have recently read 4,000 weeks, but I want to make sure I am getting the most out of the things that I do. Prioritising activities that I enjoy and being more intentional with my time.
Despite having two children to look after, a company to help run, and a whole range of relationships to manage, my life is packed full of activities. Both myself and my wife live out of our calendars whilst still maintaining time for our relationship. Enjoyment of our lives is at the centre of everything we do with our kids, so we like to think about the things I do, too.
I stated of course with writing because I do a great deal of it. Not just on my blog, but for my job, for my life and also just because I enjoy it. Either manual scribbling or typing on my keyboard, I love writing. The question always exists of “what is it for”. I scribbled it in my notebook a couple of weeks ago whilst musing other things and tried to come to some kind of resolution on why.
I am sure you will be saying in your head, “but Greg, you write because you enjoy writing”. Unfortunately, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may be able to already expect that a tautology is not good enough for me. I like to question things, and understand myself on deeper levels. When questions arise in my mind, I like to have some kind of reasoning to satisfy the curiosity I have about myself.
I make no money from writing. I don’t do it for clicks, although I do love the interaction it sometimes brings. Nor am I interested in any kind of sudo fame that some bloggers manage to achieve. Indeed, my motivation for writing is completely internal, if my intentions were to gain anything from it externally, then I would have put more effort into actually crafting the art and strengthening my skill by now.
Philosopher Kieran Setiya refers to atelic activity as one that its value is not derived from its ultimate aim (telos). This is a label that could, without doubt, be applied to my photography. I don’t go out with my camera to provide a result, I do it to see the world differently and enjoy the process. The photographs that are produced are a byproduct of the enjoyment I get from it. Although that hasn’t always been the case for me.
These thoughts gave me some reasoning around simply enjoying the process of writing instead of the result. I love writing out my thoughts and that is enough motivation to do it. Although enough of it takes place in private that hitting publish barely seems worth it at all, the process could be enough. However, much like the photos that make it to the end of my photography process, some enjoyment comes from ‘working in public’. Not for a kind of return, purely to share some of my enjoyment with others.
Dazné summed this up more succinctly than I. “I write foremost for myself. And when others find it useful, then that’s great too”. This whole post is me, coming to terms to with my mortality and wanting to understand myself better. If by doing this in public, with a typo ridden blog post, perhaps helps someone else than that’s great – but it’s not the motivation behind it.
This process has been helped along by what I read, both in books and online, and my reading list has a strange way of surfacing thoughts just when I need them. If my posts do that for someone else and help them understand the world or themselves, then all the better.