So as I was working on my project last night I noticed something interesting. The information and analysis portion was for the most part done, so I found myself editing the site in a way that included a sort of commentary on the project its self. It had turned into something much different from what I intended it to be so it became necessary to sort of meta-analyze the direction the project went in in order to make it flow more clearly.
Although we we’re supposed to have a clear concept of who our intended audience throughout the entire thing, I realize looking back that that’s a mindset that doesn’t come easy (especially for people like us who Ray points out are used writing for an artificial audience for more than 15 years). However when I found myself working on the meta-analysis portion, every word/sentence was written to be geared towards a specific audience, people looking at the project. I was much more satisfied with the writing that I produced while having a clear audience in mind. And now I find myself wanting to go through the entire project again and semi-regularly injecting these commentary sections in order to streamline the entire thing.
There are studies that look at the difference in work at is intrinsically motivated (motivated by a desire to produce something that satisfies you) and work that is extrinsically motivated (motivated by the potential loss or gain that producing or not producing the project in question). In my case at least, I uncovered a whole world of intrinsic motivating factors once I had a clear audience in mind. For the past five weeks my project had mostly been extrinsically motivated by points, grades, credits and strengthening myself as a writer. So I will without a doubt be editing the project for a few more weeks at least, in my free time, not because it will boost my grade but because I know that doing so will make the project as best as it can be.
So there’s a lesson to take away from my little anecdote; notice when and in what circumstances you find yourself being intrinsically motivated to produce something, because its been confirmed by studies that those are the times an circumstance in which you will produce your best work.
DISCLAIMER: Being driven mostly by extrinsic motivation does not necessary dictate that you aren’t interested in the content, just that you probably wouldn’t find it worth the effort to maximize its potential