I'm often asked how I stay motivated to write. The question comes most often from aspiring writers who are finding out just how hard it can be.
If there was a magical formula, I'd bottle and shill it on late night TV :)
Seriously, for me it is an internal drive to succeed at whatever I set my mind to. Now, the definition of success can be different for everyone. Is it an International Best Selling series that then becomes a movie franchise? Or is simply completing your manuscript and getting it published sufficient?
For me, success has always been a simple goal. To do this for a living, not a hobby. By that measure, I'm successful. Does that mean I'm satisfied with where I am, or do I want more? We always want more, and I'm working hard to get there, but that will be the icing on the cake.
We have to believe in ourselves and have a strong work ethic to keep sitting down at the computer every day and write. Motivation will come from the places you least expect. Maybe it's having worked at this long enough that you can you help someone else who's just starting out. Maybe it's realizing you're perfecting your skills when you are receiving steadily improving feedback on your work. Motivation for this is no different than anything else in life that's hard. Can you keep going through the rough patches, the rejections and those times where self-doubt creeps in? If you want something badly enough, you'll find a way.
As my dear granny used to say whenever I gave up on something "well, guess you didn't really want it that bad after all."
I'll leave you with another pearl of wisdom from my granny. "Don't let the bastards win". For her, the bastards weren't any specific individuals, it was the negative people we encounter in life. The people with a sour, pessimistic outlook that want to drag us down into their misery so for a few minutes they can feel a little better about themselves. If you've got some of those in your life, get rid of them. Surround yourself with positive people. Optimistic people. People who will genuinely be happy for your success. In other words, motivated people. Motivation is contagious.