Author Matthew W Harrill

Motivation – How do you succeed?

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Motivation – how do you succeed?

In every aspect of our lives there is for most people a base-instinct to succeed, to evolve in some way, to better ourselves. That is as true for the writer as it is for anybody anywhere. There is no perfect manuscript, no guaranteed step-by-step route to success.

Do I hold the key? Am I a motivational speaker? Certainly not, at least not at this point. Maybe I am on the brink of unlocking the road to El-Dorado. Perhaps it is forever out of my reach. The point is I have the motivation to look because I want to get my stories out there, and have as many people read them as possible.

There will be setbacks, people might not like The ARC Chronicles and whatever subsequent tales come along. But I want to improve, and that need to better myself is a strong and powerful driving force.

Small things

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A pleasant bit of feedback, a well-received review, encouragement from your spouse. Anything like this will help drive you on. A proud comment from mum, even if she doesn’t understand your work, will spur on any offspring. I’m proud as punch of my kids, and I make sure they all know that.

Beware of being filled with false hopes though. Parents will always be proud, and will always want to motivate you. For example of the poor souls who are filled with false belief look no further than those who are rejected at the start of the ‘Idol’ or ‘Got Talent’ shows that infest the airwaves nowadays. When presented with the truth, they are shattered by reality, quite often recoiling at those who know what to look for, and are honest in their assessment.

Look to industry peers for the feedback even if it is critical. A pleasant comment from a mentor, or somebody you hold in high regard will have meaning since its probable they have a pretty good idea what they are talking about. If you get criticism, you might not like it, but if you are serious about your craft your motivation should be to iron out the kinks.

The industry wants you to succeed. How else can it sustain and perpetuate itself otherwise?

Success breeds success

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While this statement doesn’t necessarily hold true, it can provide motivation for you as a writer to keep on going. Hellbounce has placed well in three competitions in the past year, coming runner up to Nick Cutter’s ‘The Troop’ in the Halloween Book Festival, gaining an honourable mention at the London Book Festival, and a finalist place in Horror at the International Book Awards.

‘So what?’ you might ask, and very rightly so. These are not Pulitzers. These are not the Bram Stoker Awards. And yet they serve as great sources of motivation for me as a writer and tell me two things. Firstly that I am writing something worthwhile (buy my book, he says with no shame whatsoever). Secondly that there are higher levels to attain. Success doesn’t mean that’s it, time to kick back and enjoy the spoils (there aren’t any!). It means it’s time to really get to work.


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Motivation can find you in all manner of forms. You can draw on it to become successful in whatever field you desire. My wife and I for example are just about to undertake that lunatic workout course called ‘Insanity’. The motivation there is in a totally different direction to writing, but the goal is clear. In this case the desire for a published bestselling book manifests itself in the effort required for wash-board abs. It is not beyond the realms of imagination, and I know people who have completed the course and reinvented their body shape. Much as I know writers who have topped the NY Times list, these people achieved their goals.

And you can achieve yours.


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