The Seinfeld Method, Andy Warhol, And Not Giving A F*ck.
200 crappy words per day, that’s it. 200 words per day even if they're lousy, awful, poorly written, or nonsense.
200 words a day….EVERYDAY!
I just finished reading “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck” written by Mark Manson. The book challenged many of my long-held beliefs or ‘values’ as Mark puts it. There were parts I found difficult to finish because of the discomfort I felt realizing that I’m giving WAYYYYYY too many f*cks! (I’ll write 200 more crappy words about that another day.) I strongly recommend the book, but only if you keep your mind open and are ready, to be honest with yourself.
The part that’s really stuck in my mind right now is a story Mark wrote about a very successful ‘unnamed author’ who published over 70 books and the secret he used.
200 crappy words per day, that’s it.
200 words per day are really not that much when you start to think about it. I mean I’m at 195 words right now, and I still have so much more to write! That’s the point of the 200 crappy words. Once you start (the hardest part) then you start to gain more and more motivation to continue.
Don’t just sit there. Do something! The answers will follow.
This is the only way anything gets done! Experimenting, thinking outside the box, or trial and error directed at a particular problem will eventually reveal the result.
Whether this is an urban legend or a made-up rumor, it’s said that Jerry Seinfeld committed to writing a joke every day without breaking his streak. The story comes from Brad Isaacs who was also performing comedy at the same time as Jerry. During an interview with, LifeHacker he explained the “Seinfeld Method”.
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 next is to not break the chain.
I wonder what would happen if I wrote…
200 crappy per day
1400 crappy words per week
6000 crappy words per month
73000 crappy words per year
As many crappy words as it takes until I come up with something magnificent! I’m going to write nonsense about my alter ego Dan Draper or how I’m still searching for the elusive snozzberry. Eventually, I’ll stumble upon 200 words of pure gold but only if I don’t break the chain!
How many consecutive days did it take Seinfeld to write crappy joke after crappy joke until he came up with comedy gold about seedless watermelons? 1? 7? 30? 365? Whatever the number is, it sure turned out pretty well for Jerry.
A few weeks ago I watched “The Andy Warhol Diaries” and it reminded me of how useless it is to get caught up in what everyone else thinks.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make more art.”
I can’t keep “giving f*cks” about whether the things I write about rub someone else the wrong way. I can’t focus on if my 200 words are or aren’t “good enough”. I’ll let everyone else decide if my writing is like a painting of a soup can or a toddler's finger painting.
While they’re deciding…
I’ll write my 200 words, won’t break the chain, and keep making more art.