There’s a funny episode of Nathan For You where the show’s lead, Nathan Fielder, is trying to get people motivated through an interesting technique: taking embarrassing photos of themselves.
For Fielder, he explains that he takes a photo naked, in a hot dog bun, that will be sent to his grandmother unless the task he hopes to complete is completed. It’s an absurdist carrot at the end of a ridiculous stick. It’s brilliant.
Of course, this scenario isn’t real nor is it something you should actually do. You can try this through more low-stakes way like exercising if you didn’t accomplish something or removing a reward if a goal wasn’t accomplished. Quite simple, really.
Unless you are radio host and writer Tommy Schnurmacher who, in a great and awful and great story published to LitHub, explains his secret to keeping his writing written: donating to Donald Trump. Yes, Schnurmacher’s absurdist carrot to keep writing is to do the work – or donate to the deeply unliked US president.
It all started so simply, with hitting a writing goal every day. Schnurmacher explains.
I knew I could not be trusted to be my own taskmaster so I posted a personal vow on Facebook. I promised to write at least 1,000 words a day to be made available for all to see every weekday by noon at the latest.
It worked. I often had my quota posted as early as 9 am.
This was my literary version of the sample tables at Costco. I kept at it religiously but only for a few weeks. Hors d’oeuvres are one thing but I had no intention of giving away the entire roast.
This worked quite well for him! He had no problems getting his writing written.
Then, as things go for creatives, the self-starting finished and he was left trying to jumpstart his work. This is where Trump came in.
I gave my friend, Francine, a large brown envelope. Inside was a smaller envelope addressed to an of office in downtown Washington D.C. The small stamped envelope contained a check for $100.
I would have to email my daily writing output to Francine every weekday by 5 pm at the latest. If I ever failed to do so, she had strict instructions to immediately pop the small envelope into a mailbox.
The check inside is made out to “Campaign to Re-Elect Donald Trump.”
Ah, yes: the working man’s naked hot dog trick. What a way to keep creatives creating.
Schnurmacher claims it works but, as writing goes, who knows what truth is within this funny story. Is he actually greatly prolific because of this orange alert? Who knows! Either way, a tiny bit of inspiration on how to keep yourself going – or else you work against your own beliefs.