Back when I was reading slush for PodCastle, one of the things that would get me to perk up was when a writer would introduce a clear character motivation within the first page. This didn't have to be anything major. In fact, it didn't necessarily have to be the focus of the story. I just wanted to feel a sense of purpose from the get-go. I hated reading a story and not having a clear understand of why I was reading.
I go through cycles of this, so it isn't new. I do know that when it happens, which is almost always around this time of year, I'm tempted to burn my life to the ground. I don't mean suicide, but rather other really poor life choices. I have to keep it in my mind to stay the course and that things will get better.