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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article containing a description of Jerry Seinfeld’s writing strategy…
Are you the kind of writer who procrastinates? A lot? Let me share with you a tip from the master comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
First, let’s examine his credentials. In 2005, Comedy Central ranked Jerry Seinfeld 12th out of 100 as the greatest comedians of all time. He’s also made a lot of money doing comedy. And he’s won a truckload of Golden Globe Awards, Prime Time Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Writer’s Guild of American Awards. To see his almost unbelievable bounty of nominations and wins, look here.
So what’s he doing right? I love the story that James Clear tells in his article headlined: How to Stop Procrastinating with the Seinfeld Strategy. In it he describes a young comedian named Brad Isaac asking Seinfeld for advice:
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
As Clear emphasizes, Seinfeld says nothing about quality or results. The only thing that matters is not breaking the chain. I love this attitude! Jerry Seinfeld’s writing strategy removes all the pressure. It tells us to produce now and not worry about the results. It’s action oriented. It’s effective.
Thanks so much to Vicky White for sharing this blog post with me.