Motivation. It’s what gets us going and keeps us going.
What’s my motivation to write? I love to be creative. That part is fun for me. I also enjoy that point in the publishing process when the work is polished and I get to see my cover art for the first time. That moment is a real high, and it’s the finish line I focus on during the more arduous parts of editing, etc. Then there’s the reader feedback after the book is released. There can’t be writers without readers, and finding out how people receive my work can help motivate me to write the next book.
Characters need motivation too. Why does the hero or heroine work through the conflict in the story? What are they trying to attain or what drives them? If the author doesn’t have a clear motive in mind for her characters’ actions, then they’re going to fall flat. And let’s not forget the villain. Villains need motivation too. For example, why does he want to hurt the hero? To steal the heroine for himself? Revenge? Or is he just a sadist?
Any story can be broken down into who, what, where, when, how, and why. The why isn’t always as obvious, but it is a critical part of a believable plot.