300 Sunny Days in Colorado

Susie Lindau

Susie Lindau
Boulder, Colorado, USA
April 11
Writer and illustrator
I am a Boulder writer who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride! I finished a paranormal thriller based on my own experiences. Creepy, right?


NOVEMBER 16, 2011 8:55AM

Anger, Fear, or Joy?

Rate: 28 Flag

There have been nights when my poor husband Danny has come home from work and found me in the same position as when he left; still stooped over my keyboard. After promising to finish in a few more minutes, I have often typed for another hour. Giving up on being served a home cooked meal, he sauntered across the kitchen and opened the empty refrigerator.

“Were you planning on eating tonight?” he asked politely while staring at the empty shelves. What he really means is, “When are you planning to go to the grocery store so we can have a proper meal?”

I get so absorbed with writing that I forget to check the time and the day slips away.

Some would say that I have found my passion, but I think there has to be an internal combustion engine driving that passion called motivation. When I looked up the word “motivate,” I found the definition:

(v.) to provide with an incentive; move to action; impel.

Impel? Another verb: 1. to drive or urge forward; press on; incite or constrain to action. 2. to drive or cause to move onward; propel.

Ooh! I really liked the synonyms: inspire, stimulate, encourage, persuade, provoke, arouse, influence, and prompt.

It occurred to me that since I began writing earlier this year, I’ve had no problem motivating. But what motivated me? What is the secret potion that keeps me banging away on my keyboard for hours every day? I deduced that the key ingredient in the concoction likely included an emotion. I posted a simple question on Facebook and Twitter. “What motivates you? Anger, fear, or joy?”  The wide range of answers included, “My wife!” (Would that be fear?)

When our family visitedWilliamsburg, Virginia, we attended a living history tour and learned that the Revolutionary War headed up by gallant George Washington began with anger over English bureaucracy. George was disgusted by pigs that ran wild and fouled the water in Winchester, Virginia. He wrote legislation which was passed in the Lower House then in the Upper House. It was sent to the Governor and then carried by ship to the King of England. More than a year later, the “Clean Water Bill” was signed and the townspeople penned up their pigs. It’s a good thing that George was motivated by anger. If our founding fathers hadn’t gotten pissed off about pigs (among other things), we could be still under the power of the English Crown.

Personally, I don’t motivate well when angry. My frontal lobe is activated which shuts down my creative energy and reasoning power  – and it is not an attractive look for me!

Fear has motivated many over eons. After all, fight or flight is the most basic human instinct. If my only goal was to blog and build a writer’s platform I would say that I was fearless. However, I exude a healthy amount of fear every time I think I may not finish my book. It motivates me to turn off the internet and set a total word goal for the day.

This brings me to joy. -Ah joy! It’s my favorite of all motivators. I really enjoy writing and expressing all of the crazy ideas that used to float around aimlessly in my head. As an artist and illustrator I have found pleasure in this new way to create. In place of a paintbrush or ink to capture an emotion through a portrait or landscape, I use words. I find descriptive expression through characters in a story to be as vivid as any painted canvas.

Understanding what motivates us is important in order to define the right conditions for accomplishing our goals. Read the newspaper’s political commentary if anger inspires you. Set goals so there is a deadline looming and fear will nip at your heels. Pour yourself a full cup of coffee, sit down near a window and allow your imagination to run wild. Let joy embrace you.

Just remember to go to the grocery store once in a while!


What motivates you? Explain your choice in the comment section.

My son Kelly and Danny role played in the living historical tour

about “Pigs Gone Wild”



All photos by S. Lindau

A special thank you to Juleigh Muirhead Clark from the

Williamburg Library for the Pig Law link. 


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I just discovered that using the "back arrow" unclicks the rate! Oops!

I could not figure out why they weren't sticking when I went back to see if the writer had commented.
Pigs going wild doesn't sound so bad. Poor starving Danny. Delivery?
It is very lucky if joy gets to be a motivator at all. Most seem to get stuck on fear and responsibility. Off I got to click those links.
Thanks Fersy! It is birthday week here so our fridge is filled with leftovers from restaurants! You are probably right about fear and responsibility~
I started to write a book after trauma. It was a way to organize thoughts and get the emotions up front. After the trauma was over I kind of lost interest in the book. Blogging is a great expression for me and there are no pesky paintings sitting all over the place afterwards. I think music would be the very best way to express yourself but I have a tin ear. I do love words but the talent of being a really good writer eludes me. So I guess I do it just for personal joy. I am so proud of you for writing a book and keeping your nose to the writer's grindstone. You've got "it".
Thank you Zanelle, but I think you have "it!!" I just read your post about the patients you care for and so enjoyed it! You have a writing style that flows easily and paints a picture too.
I agree with Fernsy about being stuck on fear and responsibility - time keeps me from being motivated by joy - that makes me sad. Love the post.
Yes, it is important to buy food and eat. Your writing will thank you for thinking it important to obtain proper nutrition. Great piece.
Thanks LammChops! I hope that someday you will have the time to experience joy as a motivator.
Writing.. but since I have gone to a new format I spend more time writing but have time for other things. Weird huh?
But you can sit down and type for hours and wonder where the time went. Thats why I take photos now so I go out hahaha
Yes Mary you are right- Eating is good...Hahaha! Thanks!

Neil I will remember that!

Linda- It is good to get out or we run out of topics to write about!
Susie, for me joy comes when I've completed something - chapter, or post - and deemed it good enuf to post. My motivation bubbles up from within. It's a mixture of desperation and inspiration. I know the very salvation of my soul is to be found in stringing together words that provide as clear a glimpse of what's in my heart as possible. Only when I've met a certain expectation each day can I relax enuf to feel as close to joyous as I believe I can get.
That is very cool Matt! I know the feeling. The creative process and result are so fulfilling.
I also really enjoy when I get into "the zone" as is often refered in sports, when my focus and ideas all come together and...I...just...can't...stop!
writing stories are always interesting
Anger makes me illogical, fear makes me seek escape, both are liable to paralyze me. Joy motivates me. I will move toward joy if I think there's any chance of feeling it, even through fear and anger.

I'd never thought about this but it's given me massive flashes of insight about why I'm struggling with applying for jobs but it's so easy for me to write. Thank you.
Deadlines motivate me, the closer they get the more willing I am to think about doing what needs to be done.
rated with love
Thanks for stopping by Kathy!
The ultimate goal should always be not to have to do anything anytime. Love how the history is woven in. Excellent post, Susie. R
anger is a prime motivator, alas.
i lash out at others for hindering me
for frustrating my blossoming genius, ha,
usually am just striking at
some projected portion of myself.

fear negatively motivates me to curl up like a starfish fetus
at the bottom of a thousand feet of ocean and wait.

anxiety motivates me to do something, anything, move
or talk.

it is only joy that really motivates, impels, me to write.
joy that i am an infinite mind, an eternal soul
who understands the beauty
and terror of existence
in this form. human.
L'heure I so agree. I am not at my best if I am anxious. With joy I can let myself loose and fly --or at least write about it!
A very nice conversational essay. You got me thinking (usually a mistake). What motivates me...hmmmmm....
1. If I had my Joy, I wouldn't be out here propositioning inspiration. Writing is a joy like a drug is a joy... psst, are you..
2. Afraid? Living for nothing are we? Words have Meaning. But we are the meaning.
3. Where does It end? That makes me angry.

(snapping of fingers from the coffee house audience)
I want kiss that avatar's neck!
I agree RP! If I don't make deadlines for myself, I putz around!!
I don't know a damn thing about motivation but I love "pigs gone wild." That will become my motto, my battle cry. I will explain every disaster with a shrug and "pigs gone wild, ya know." Do you suppose OWS needs a motto? This is as pithy as anything that has appeared on any protest sign, and quite relevant. Thanks for the history lesson!
Thanks Thoth! That is the only way to write!
James that was so poetic! Thank you!
In most situations, fear's so useless. Rated.
you forgot to include passion. people want to fuck. most do what they do in the hopes that someone will see them doing it, their pupils will enlarge, blood will rush to their genitals, and then they will tackle original actor and ravage them in a fit of lust.

I do stuff because I'm bored. No one does anything for reasons of Joy. Joy is what you get when you're done.
Sirenita Lake! I love that too! Go for it~
Joy and nothing else. Always stay with the positive. Rated with a Jali Smile of course. :-)
Ash you crack me up!! It looks like I am asking for a vampire's bite now that you mention it!
You are passionate guy Malcolm XY!!
Thanks for reading~
I know that place of spending so much time creating that I forget to keep up with the rest of my life. For me, many emotions can motivate my need to write prose or to create music. In the past year it's ranged from the joy of healing to the anger or frustration I've experience from current events. I think it's partly some need to express things I experience and feel deeply inside and to get them outside myself, and then I can understand them better. Sometimes.
Great post, I love this subject- thanks for bringing it up and getting me to about it.
Oh Susie, this was so much fun to read and watch!!!! My son attends William & Mary law so this is familiar to me--lots of anger, fear and joy there!
Fantastic passion here. I relate. I'll have what you're having!
My motivation for writing is simple.. that readers, no matter how few will find enjoyment reading my stuff.
Hi Susie. I'm not introspective enough to know what motivates me. I like to be thought well of so perhaps it's vanity. The again, the Freudian answer would be sex, but you wouldn't suspect that from my post-separation lifestyle. I usually post something if I think it might be interesting. That sounds like vanity again. I've also blogged about musicians who I don't think have had their due recognition. It's a stretch to put that motivation in terms of anger, fear or joy, though I guess one could make a case for the anger (at recognition not being dealt out fairly) or joy (the delight of honoring a favorite performer). But as I said, I'm not very introspective so I get by on the glib "because it amuses me" rationale.
That is a great attitude Jali! Thanks for stopping by to read!
Thanks Kevin! I know what you mean. Motivation can be complicated or really simple!
Thanks Mhold for stopping by! I loved Williamsburg. I felt a real connection there, but we were only passing through. I want to go back and visit again someday. The campus was beautiful too.

It amazes me how much I love writing. I hope I always have this passion!
I'm motivated by scaring the neighborhood kids!! :D


What motivates me? You, and this excellent post.
Jramelle I am so glad that you commented and am glad that it prompted you to think about motivation. I wrote this after I read a bunch of heated political articles here on OS. I realized that anger is the catalyst for many.
I so glad that you write here and have found an outlet!
All three of those.

Sometimes fear that people are not going to do what's in their own best interests as a whole, simply through apathy or ignorance, I don't know which and I don't care which as long as they get over it.

Sometimes anger at the people who make things harder, more difficult or inefficient for all. Anger at those who consider violence as their first and sometimes only real option. Sometimes anger at the bully, the intimidator, the snide, smug, self-absorbed solipsists who, without care or concern for anyone else, do what they do, all the while just daring you to do something about it.

Sometimes joy is my motivator. The joy and wonder at such wonderful people I have met. The beauty and grace of those that dare to stand for what they know is right, even against tanks, bombs and kings. The joy at the simple beauty of this world in it's natural state and the relatively natural state of the caring, concerned and careful citizen, dedicated to righting wrongs, making life better, or coming up with new ideas and taking them to their limits.

These are my motivators. At different times and for different reasons. As the psalm and song go, to every thing, turn, turn, turn, there is a time and purpose to everything under Heaven.

Like you, I have started my day writing (and when I first started it was pen in hand, scrawling rapibly in script across several dozen pages of college ruled line paper (both sides)) each sitting.

I recall standing up to finally go to the bathroom and nearly blacking out from lack of food, rest and movement. I recall that a LOT. Today, I spend more time away from the keyboard (I started with a 1953 Royal typewriter and worked my way up to my current ergonomic keyboard) over four decades of nearly continuous writing in one form or another.

I love ideas and I love this little question of yours. Thanks for asking.

That is a great motivator A! A writer should keep its reader in mind...
: )
Abrawang I think that would go under the heading of Joy and I can tell when I am reading your posts that you enjoyed writing them!
OOOOOhhhhh! Tink! Hahaha!
It's funny, as I'm reading this, I really need to go to the grocery store. I have neglected going because I have been writing. What are you writing I wonder?
Woman cannot live by words alone. Yes, you have to buy groceries once in a while -- or pick up the phone for takeout. Then you can nosh while you write.

As for motivation, I think the idea of audience is why blogging has taken off. Being read by others and wanting to please them is a huge motivator!
Thanks Margaret! That means a lot to me!

Excellent comment Dunniteowl! I had a Royal too! I wish I still did!
Kdsullivan Thanks for reading! I am writing a paranormal thriller...
Bell I think you are right about pleasing the audience. I often ask myself if a topic would be interesting to my reader before I begin. I agree about eating, I sometimes get so absorbed!!
Thank you~
Oh, you are a person of passion! And it is too hard to stop.
I love this article and I am so pleased to find someone out
there whose family bears the cross of the writer! lol fine work!
Thanks Phibby for stopping by and for your kind comment!