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The Zapping Monster – Or, the Weird Way I Motivate My Writing

Last time I talked about spurring creativity. Very helpful, regardless of your objective. (The article’s right here if you missed it.)

So, following said advice, we’ve had a good creative soak. The ideas have congealed into an appealing mass. You start the work spinning said mass into something real.

Then you lose interest. The motivation trickles away. After a while you feel like shaking your head and walking away.

Sometimes this happens to me. I start despairing over the quality of the work. My brain begins to think, “I can’t fix this. It’s too bad.”

These are the moments when the Zapping Monster appears.

What’s the Zapping Monster? Well, picture this. He’s a little round goblin-critter about the size of a tennis ball. Warty greenish skin. Three-fingered hands with little claws. Bulbous horned head mashed directly on top of his tiny shoulders. Huge toothy mouth like an 80s Ghostbuster cartoon.

He floats in the air behind my head. And he’s holding a giant cattle prod.

You can guess where this is going.

The Zapping Monster has one job. Whenever it hears me say/think things like, “This is no good. Nobody likes my work. I should give up.”

It smiles really big. Lots of fangs sticking out. Then it jams the cattle prod against my skull and ZZZZAP!

ZAP goes the Motivation!
OHGODSTHEPAIN…wait…that’s it!

After the blinding-white pain fades, I can hear it whispering at me. It always says something like this:

“Knock that crap off. Your work is fine.”
“That one paragraph there is great. Keep going.”
“It only gets better. Remember how this used to go?”
“Hey, just sharpen that one part there. See, now it works!”

The Zapping Monster is somehow all-knowing. It knows not lies, nor deceit. To the Zapping Monster there is only motivation, encouragement, and senses-shattering pain.

Those of you thinking it’s a college professor, stop that. It would look silly in a V-neck sweater.

The Monster of Motivation!

Does this work? Yep, it sure does. And the reason why it works comes from SCIENCE!
It comes from a phenomenon called ‘motivational self-talk.’ Studies have demonstrated that talking to oneself in positive statements & encouraging tones does influence our brains.

Not only does it counter negative self-talk – the “this is bad, I’m stupid” stuff – it actually enhances our belief in ourselves.

As long as it’s good self-talk, of course. A few types will work, depending on your situation.

  • Direct encouragement. “Take a deep breath. It’s okay. You studied for this. You have everything you need to do it.”
  • Giving yourself instruction. “Okay, the pitcher’s about to throw. Raise the bat. Keep the hips steady. Watch the ball. Aaand hit it!”
  • Reminders of a goal. “Yeah, it’s exercise, but it’s making you healthier each day! Remember how we couldn’t fit in those jeans last year, but we squeezed in last week?”

Should you self-talk out loud, or in your head? Try both and see what works. Me, I go between each depending on the day.

(Hmm. They also say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. Well, I do write weird fiction with a warty green monster floating next to my head…)

More about self-talk at this link: Healthline.com

Motivation Delivered Free! Just Add Monster

Want to do something similar? Well, lucky you – it’s so easy!

I’ve just inserted the Zapping Monster into your brain. No surgery required. Everyone who wants one now has one; I can copy the Zapping Monster an infinite number of times.

It’s already there. Waiting for its job. Oh, Sharon, watch out, the cattle prod’s right next to your—

…welcome back! It doesn’t hurt as much after a few times.

For the rest of you, you’re all set. Just remind yourself the Zapping Monster’s hovering nearby, ready to ‘encourage’ you with positive self-talk. And violent electrocution, but hey, small price for motivation right?

My Pet Zapping Monster
He kind of looks like this to me. If you recognize him, you’re old.

What creative/productivity question do you have? Drop it in a comment, or DM me on Facebook/Instagram (links at left).

Published inFiction WritingNewsletter ArchiveWrongness

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