Jerry Seinfeld’s 7 Rules For Becoming A Better Writer
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most prolific comedy writers of all time. While he is most known for his eponymous sitcom, Seinfeld has produced multiple standup specials, hosts the popular Netflix series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and recently published a book of his work. This tremendous output isn’t an accident. Jerry has spent decades crafting a systematic approach to writing.
In an interview on the popular Podcast the Tim Ferriss Show, Seinfeld shared the nuts and bolts of his writing practice. Here are the 7 best pieces of writing wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld.
Understand you are attempting “The most difficult thing in the world”
“People tell you to write like you can do it, like you’re supposed to be able to do it. Nobody can do it. It’s impossible. The greatest people in the world can’t do it. So if you’re going to do it, you should first be told: “What you are attempting to do is incredibly difficult. One of the most difficult things there is” (link)
Writing is REALLY FREAKING hard. This is the crux of Seinfeld’s philosophy. It informs everything else. Each one of his strategy’s addresses this fundamental truth. It’s a fact that anyone who has even scribbled a “thank you note’’ can attest to. Yet we forget. We curse our keyboards, beat ourselves up, and appear flustered when our first draft doesn’t read like War And Peace.
Clichés like: “speak your truth” and “write what you know” only compound this frustration. They make writing sound so simple, like something we come out of the womb knowing how to do. This isn’t the case. In order to write effectively we must arm ourselves with the proper tools for the trying task ahead.
The writer’s brain is a dog that needs to be trained
You’ve got to treat your brain like a dog you just got. The mind is infinite in wisdom. The brain is a stupid, little dog that is easily trained. (link)
Your mind is a supercomputer. Your brain is a schnauzer, and should be treated as such. This canine part of your cranium would…