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Writing Advice from Jerry Seinfeld: “Don’t break the chain.”

Jerry Seinfeld’s simple productivity tip is no joke.

Photo by 4nitsirk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Looking for writing inspiration? Check out our free ebook, 365 Writing Prompts which offers a new writing prompt for every day of the year.

Thinking about starting or resuming a writing practice with the kids ensconced in school but having doubts about your ability to stick with it? Stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld offers a simple productivity tip that might be just the thing to keep you coming back to your notebook or keyboard consistently.

You may also be interested in “Getting Started with a Prompt Box,” in which Andrea Badgley shares a little bit about where she gets inspiration for her writing practice.

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it.

He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

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.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

Looking for some writing inspiration to kick-start that writing practice? Check out our Daily Prompt, with all-new reader-created prompts through the month of September.

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  1. Great advice! I have a calendar that I use for tracking words written for my novel. Each day I write, I put the new word count. It’s not only rewarding to see that I’ve written for so many consecutive days, but also how far I’m come in such a short amount of time. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was so helpful for me because I’m a visual learner. I will definitely be putting this tip into practice in the future. I tend to write only when I’m inspired, but I’d like to write more. I think the tip adds just the right amount of accountability I’d need for myself.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I have tried to do this method in the past and I found it impossible for me to write every day. I felt discouraged until I realized that it was OK for me just to “work” five days a week. So now I write M-F and if I write on the weekend it is a bonus, and if I do not write on the weekend, I do not feel like I have failed.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thanks. Now that I’ve looked again at the post, I see there’s a link in the header to the English version. But the three links in the body of the article don’t include the English version! Thanks for helping me find it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Krista:
    Thank you for sharing this ‘gem’ with us. What a grand way to motivate yourself. Placing it on a wall where everyone who visits can see it is also self-satisfying. At the end of the year we don’t have to wonder what it was that we accomplished with our writing; it is right there in front of us.
    Thank you again,

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I really like this idea but I need more than a red Sharpie. I need a green, an orange, a lavender … you get the idea. It would look like multicolored snake which would be more interesting for others to look at too.

    Liked by 1 person

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