How I Shut My Monkey

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sock-monkeyThere was almost no blog post from me today. You see, yesterday was a terribly off-day. The monkey was loose.

I don’t like monkeys. It perplexes me that people decorate babies’ nurseries with little furry monkeys frolicking in the trees or hanging by their tails near the crib. I just don’t see how that is endearing. Sock monkeys – they are making a comeback. Nope, nope – not a fan. The only thing worse than a sock monkey is the sock monkey in a box, like a jack in the box, only with a monkey. Suspense, anticipation…dread, and pop! The creepy thing jumps out at you.

My personal tastes aside, the monkey I’m referring to is the one that shows up and makes so much racket that I don’t get my work done. You know the one, as soon as you start to write, or design, or pick up the phone to make a sales call, that obnoxious little monkey starts yammering.

“Ha, you think you can come up with anything?  Do you think you write stuff others wants to read? What makes you think they will ever hire you, or buy your product, or recommend you to someone?”

On and on it goes. It wasn’t happening for me yesterday.  I think the monkey had a few friends with him. Staring at my computer, I couldn’t get anything started. I dreaded working on a project, then I saw someone else promoting their writing service, (who isn’t a writer at all, she just farms it out), then I talked with another publishing company which made me feel even more inferior. Meanwhile the monkey was going strong. “Why would anyone have you help them write? There are so many bigger names out there! You’re better off just chucking it all and getting a 9-5 job, something where you don’t have to think or create or even let people see your work.”

I recently read a book by Danny Gregory titled “Shut Your Monkey”. He is my new favorite author. Gregory was one of the co-founders of Sketch Book Skool, and online program with various classes on sketching, illustration and creativity. Gregory’s story caught my interest immediately. He had been a New York City ad man for years, going through the motions, not feeling creative. Then his wife was in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. To cope through all this, Gregory bought a sketch book and began teaching himself to draw.

Now he has several books, a vibrant on-line teaching model and thousands of fans, all because he tackled the monkey and put his work out there.

I reopened the book and scanned a few passages I had highlighted, “Talent doesn’t guarantee success. Showing up does.” And “The monkey doesn’t tell you the truth.”

Yeah monkey, you don’t tell the truth, so get out of my way and let me get back to business.

Thankfully, I haven’t had one of those terribly off-days in a long time. It was just one day. Today is a new day. I’m sure at some point the monkey will wake up, but I am ready for it. After all, I showed up, and I’m primed to write stuff – and with that written stuff, I’ll revise, refine, and revel in the fact that I get to do something I not only enjoy; at times, I turn out some pretty good stuff. That’s my goal for today. I hope it is yours too.

I’d love to hear how you shut your monkey. Or if you need help shutting your monkey, or even if you want to trade monkeys for a bit.

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  1. Profile photo of Linda S. Fitzgerald
    Linda S. Fitzgerald

    Oh my Susan! I have so many monkey days these days that I have lost count. What an awesome post for those of us who stare at the laptop screen and wonder why we ever thought we could write. . . anything!

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours,

    Linda

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