Jerry Seinfeld’s 24-hour rule for writing and sharing creative work

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    Hey Misbah Haque here. And in this video I wanted to share something really cool that I have found in an interview with Jerry Seinfeld that I feel like a lot of people probably won’t listen to it was on Tim Ferriss’s podcast, I’m sure his audience listens to it. But being somebody who is a casual Tim Ferriss listener, it’s a hidden gem because there’s not really video footage of it. There’s an audio-only podcast. So you really have to dig deep to kind of find this one. I have listened or watched almost every single Jerry Seinfeld interview that is out there. I’m obsessed with him. I have his book, everything I haven’t seen this tip come across again in any other place other than his podcast. So let me share with you what it is.Β 

    Tim Ferriss basically had Jerry Seinfeld on to talk comedy systems and things of that nature, how does he work? And how is his brain designed for this stuff? And I want to start off by sharing something that sets the context for this episode, especially if you’re somebody who’s not a Tim Ferriss fan or anything like that, I think you’ll appreciate that Jerry was definitely tight on time, originally, they had allotted for maybe an hour or something like that. And when it was time to kind of close up and Tim was respectfully being like, hey, we can wrap it up. Jerry was so excited that he was like, hey, no, let’s do a couple more questions. I’m having fun with this. I’m actually a big fan of your podcast, how your brain thinks and how you break things down how you deconstruct them. And he said he feels very similar inside, like, he sees himself as that type of person who almost reverses engineers things and really breaks them down into its components.Β 

    So it’s a very, very different side of Jerry Seinfeld that you get to see if you’re used to seeing him on stage, or in his TV show, for whatever reason, writing advice and writing inspiration or motivation, like, that’s something that I look to Jerry Seinfeld, for he’s such a master of his craft. So Jerry shared something called the 24-hour rule. And it’s designed to preserve that really magical feeling that you get when you find a cool idea. And you actually write it down. And you’re super proud of yourself. But it might be really small, it might not be something that is fully fleshed out and ready to be shared with everybody. But you’ve probably had this experience where you share an idea that’s fresh with someone, and because it’s not fully formed. And it doesn’t come out exactly how you maybe had been thinking about it in your mind when they look at you like you’re crazy.Β 

    There’s this vulnerability around the idea, which is like, oh, maybe that’s not a good idea. And you may not ever pursue it further, because of that initial reaction, one preserve this joyful feeling of like finding a gem and striking gold. And then at the same time, being able to protect the idea in its infancy, before someone just crushes it,Β  you do have to open it up to feedback and criticism at some point. But initially, you’re protecting this idea so that it can grow into something. And to solve this, he basically has this concept called the 24-hour rule. Once he writes something down, he’s not going to share it with anybody for at least 24 hours. And he’s not just let the idea marinate, but he’s going to let himself fully enjoy that feeling of writing, there’s something to the strategy that he shared, which really resonated with me, especially with him being someone who identifies as a writer, he is someone who’s like the real me is somebody who sits in a room and just writes, it’s not really the person on stage. He’s like, I had to make that person up to really bring my writing to life.Β 

    And he’s so confident he rarely ever reveals personal flaws in his comedy. So I wanted to make this video to share that idea with you, so that you don’t have to listen to the whole episode, I will link it up in the description and stuff. So you can listen to that episode, if you’d like it, I really recommend it, it’s great. I find myself going back to it often replaying it because I just love some of the things that he reveals about himself. In that interview.Β 

    I think he’s so open and vulnerable and honest, in a way that you definitely would not expect him to being with someone who’s like a noncomedian, and someone who’s just asking questions about processes and things of that nature. You’ll find this if you listen to the full thing, but his daughter is getting into writing. And so basically, he shared the story of advice that he gave to his daughter, I find that to be some of the purest advice, because he’s giving it to someone he really, really cares about. It’s not just a fan, or a New York Times article that he’s kind of revealing this process for. And so the thing he said to her I believe, aside from that maybe 24 hour rule was that give yourself like a time limit. I think at a certain point he was diligently doing in his comedy career, four hours of writing per day, which if you think about it, that’s just it’s a lot to sit there and Write for four hours, then I think it came down to two, he still tries to do two full hours per day.Β 

    And the reason he set a time limit is that when that time is done, it’s finished, it’s never going to feel fully fleshed out. And so one of the pieces of advice that bolstered the idea of writing that was like writing is hard work. If you’ve decided to sit down and take on this tough, tough task to sit there alone with your thoughts in your mind and the blank page, you need to give yourself a reward and a win. And that win is usually some of those ideas that you find that you don’t tell people about for 24 hours so you can enjoy it. And then it is also being able to meet that quota. Okay, I hit my 30 minutes for the day, I hit my three pages for the day, giving it something concrete that allows you to go okay, I did my writing for the day. And now my only job is to maybe maintain this again tomorrow and keep that habit going. But even if writing every day isn’t the kind of thing you’re after. I personally think some of this writing advice can be applied to a lot of creative work out there. So hopefully this was helpful. If you enjoyed this video, make sure to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you thought about it. I think you’ll enjoy some of these too. So make sure to check them out or save them for later. But thanks for hanging out. I’ll talk to you soon.


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