Tim Ferriss — How I Wrote 5

@created:: 2024-01-24
@tags:: #lit✍/🎧podcast/highlights
@ref:: Tim Ferriss — How I Wrote 5 #1 NYT Bestsellers | How I Write Podcast
@author:: How I Write

2024-01-01 How I Write - Tim Ferriss — How I Wrote 5 #1 NYT Bestsellers How I Write Podcast

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Tips for Aspiring Writers: Write About Weird Things (Category of One & Write Consistently
Productivity and consistency in writing can be achieved through different approaches, such as setting a minimum word count, chaining oneself to the desk for hours, or creating the right conditions in the morning.
Despite the diversity of these approaches, the common thread among hyper-productive individuals is consistency. The key to consistency lies in knowing when to stop before exhaustion sets in.
Speaker 2
It's very Tim Ferriss question. If you could have a billboard for writers and you just have the billboards only for writers, what do you tell the city of aspiring writers?
Speaker 1
The first is do something interesting first. Even if you're writing fiction, by the way, writing is already hard. Don't make it harder than it needs to be. Do something interesting first. Or if people are like, ah, so intimidating. Do something fucking weird first. Right. Great. Because you're probably going to choose something fucking weird that you are personally interested in, which your friends with claim makes you kind of fucking weird. That's perfect. All right. So that's the first that came in line. The second that came to mind will be a category of one. Yeah. Figure out what that is. Figure out what that is. There's so plenty left. They're just invisible until you sit down, think about it. Kind of like, am I looking at those, say, four star most constructive reviews or any star most constructive reviews on Amazon? If you know where to look or what questions to ask, you can find gaps. Oftentimes the gaps are really simple. Like what book are you trying to find that you have middle or fine? Right. It's okay. Maybe that's your category of one. Maybe. Let's say do less than you think you can. Nice. Yes.
Speaker 2
Why that?
Speaker 1
She's writing to become famous. Stop. Do something else. Oh, she writing to make money. Generally, stop. Do something else. If you're writing because it does something for you, maybe it's therapy. Maybe you have these things, knowing that you, these things upsetting you or things just bouncing around your head that you need to get out. Great. Maybe it's because you love writing. I know many friends who just love writing. Great. Maybe there's another reason. But if the reason leads you to want to write long term, trying to bleed the stone every day is a great way to make that impossible. Yeah. Really, I have more than most tried to really over deliver every day. And that is a recipe for burnout. That is a recipe for beginning to drag your feet and not look forward to the thing that you really used to look forward to. So whether that's two crappy pages a day or some of Neil Gaiman's advice from my interview that I do with him, there are many writers I've interviewed certainly and they all have slightly Different approaches. But you mentioned some of the anecdotes from Jerry Seinfeld. I mean, you see that one of the patterns is on some level at the very highest levels, a lot of these people are more like chaperones daycare to themselves than they are like a drill sergeant In the military. Yeah. Right. Like this is very fragile in the beginning. Right. I believe it was Jerry who said like for 24 hours or 48 hours, like don't show people anything that you've written. Like bask in the glory or having done one of the hardest things that a human can possibly do. I think that that positive reinforcement is very important. And to set the conditions so that the positive reinforcement is possible, you need to leave some gas at the tank. This is my feeling. It's much better to do two crappy pages five days a week than it is to do like 10 pages one day, but then you went to bed at four in the morning. So that you're worthless for the next two days and then you freak out because you haven't written for the last two days. So that you turn out some garbage or rush into something that's formed your leg and then you've tossed that and then you're building panic on panic. That's not a good existence. And I've done that. I've lived that for years at a time. So if you have it, take my word for it. It doesn't produce good writing. And there will be days where you capture lightning in a bottle and those two pages turn into four, five, six, 10. Who knows? But it's tempting, I think, to try to model mutants. And that's a risky business. I've read interviews and there are people who are like, my minimum, you know, I stopped when I put out 1500 great words in the light. 1500 great words, really? Okay. If I said that bar, I'd want to throw myself Facebook for a win. Like day three, maybe that makes me weak. Maybe that makes me another before. I don't know, but I know that I cannot do that. And there are other people who are like, I chained myself to my desk eight hours a day and I don't move. In fact, I stared at a blank screen for eight hours and so be it. Same result. Tim, Facebook, I don't window. Can't do it. And then you have alternatives that I've interviewed a lot of them, like B.J. Novak, who talks about like really setting the conditions in the morning. It's like, do you need to have cappuccino and read the newspaper and bullshit and talk to the barista and do this and that to get in the mood? Great. The common thread though that makes these people buy in large hyper-productive, it's just consistency. And I know that a lot of people deliver this message, but the key to consistency is coming back to the billboard, which is like, stop before you're exhausted. Would be a better way to put it. Stop before you're exhausted.)
- Time 1:22:19
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