Earlier today I watched Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian.
I should’ve been writing, but I saw a clip of it on Twitter and it made me want to watch the whole documentary.
It was made in the early 2000s, a couple of years after the end of Seinfeld’s show, and shows him and a younger comedian as they make the rounds. The younger guy, Orny Adams, is trying to “breakthrough” in a sense. While Seinfeld is trying to get his sea-legs under him after not doing stand up for however long it was.
The clip I initially saw that made me want to watch the documentary was of Jerry telling Adams a story. Adams had just mentioned that he was kind of comparing himself to his friends who were settling down, getting married, getting a house, the whole shebang.
Jerry goes on to tell him a great story about living the life in showbusiness compared to settling down.
But in the documentary there’s a little clip, maybe no more than a minute, about an epiphany Jerry said he had one time. It made me think of writing and how writers have to put in the work. Any artists does really, but his words stuck with me.
He said he would go to a coffee shop a few times a week to write some stuff for his act. One day he saw a bunch of construction workers out side on their lunch. After their lunch was over, they got back up and went back to work. Jerry said he thought to himself “Those guys don’t want to go back to work to do what they were doing. But they did it because it was their job.”
“If they can exhibit that level of dedication for that job,” he said, “I should be able to do the same. Just trudge your ass in.”
Seinfeld’s point was that he’s a comedian. Writing and getting on stage, doing the rounds that comedians do, that’s their job. If these construction workers could get back to their job, he certainly could with his.
Dean Wesley Smith said once that writers sometimes think we don’t need to practice and that’s crazy. In what world do writers not need to practice? They probably think that because of the stupid muse (I’ve already written about that here), but seriously? Seinfeld has it right.
Trudge your ass in. Put in the work. Sit your ass down in that chair, or behind that desk, or wherever it is that you do your writing, and put those words down. Put in the work. Write.