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A few years ago, my friend and I launched our own publication on medium because we were very into comedy/satire. The Onion was the pinnacle. For a couple of months we met every morning in a coffee shop before the start of our respective jobs, around 7;30am and just brainstormed.

The biggest thing to me was that I learned that motivation was something that could come after you force yourself to wake up early and just get started. There were many days where we decided to not show up and skipped the days. The rest of the days that we did show up, I never ever regretted them. We came up with some hilarious ideas (at least to us) and would just sit there laughing like idiots in the coffeeshop.

We eventually launched our "publication" on Medium, and it of course fell flat because there needs to be a level of marketing and consistent effort for years before you have a dedicated following. But, those few months were some of the most creative months I've ever had in my life. I loved it. Was it a huge success? Not in the least. Was it even funny? No idea, our friends thought the articles were pretty funny, but other than that, it made it nowhere. If anybody wants to check it out -- https://medium.com/thedailylemming

After reading this article, though, I think what OP wrote is sort of not what I imagined. Sitting at home alone churning out ideas to some faceless email for a name on your resume is not my idea of creativity, I guess. I like the concept of sitting at a table and just sort of ping ponging ideas until you get something that is amazing. Of course I can say that since I'm not an actual writer and I can do this on the side and be picky and choosy as much as I want.




> The biggest thing to me was that I learned that motivation was something that could come after you force yourself to wake up early and just get started

I had a similar experience doing a podcast [1] with a group of 6 others, each putting out one episode per day. It felt like failing the group if anyone had to skip their day, as we came close to a year without a break. I'd spend hours researching and scripting my episodes while riding the bus, waiting for a friend at a bar, or just winding down before bed. It was peak creativity for me and I'm happy with how it all turned out.

But after a while we got burned out and decided to stop, with the idea that we'd keep making our own podcasts. But without that mutual duty to release daily, no one to date has actually put anything out. The deadline/responsibility was the only way to make it happen–at least for me.

[1] - https://www.podcastdotcom.net/early-bird-news/2018/8/5/8-5-1...


Man, that's a gruelling release schedule, even if it's basically "once a week per person". Most podcasts don't do the weekly thing, and those that do, it's either their full-time job AND/OR have a whole team working on it... I suspect that you guys could have benefitted from cutting back on the rhythm and working more as a team on more episodes.


oh man, i bet podcasts are so much more work


It varied episode to episode. I'd usually end up putting 10-15 hours into research and writing but with some topics I couldn't tackle in 7 days, I'd have to slap a roman numeral after it and try to finish it next week. Or, come up with some sort of cop-out for the week entirely.

In one case [1] I ended up with a teaser + 3 parter that wasn't super congruent because research for part 3 sort of changed how I would have approached the script for the previous two.

[1] Killdozer Teaser - https://www.podcastdotcom.net/early-bird-news/2019/2/16/s2e4... I - https://www.podcastdotcom.net/early-bird-news/2019/2/24/s2e5... II - https://www.podcastdotcom.net/early-bird-news/2019/3/3/s2e61... III - https://www.podcastdotcom.net/early-bird-news/2019/3/10/s2e6...


It depends on how produced they are. Most of the ones I do are interviews of around 30 minutes. To be honest, most of the work is getting the interview scheduled and recorded. The prep doesn't take long, editing is maybe a couple hours, and posting with show notes maybe another hour.

In the case of the format the parent used, the work is in the research and writing the script.

Of course, once you get to podcasts with multiple segments, edited content from multiple guests, scripted narration, etc. that's a lot more work.

Not saying a weekly podcast isn't a number of hours work in any case, but it needn't be too bad once you have a system down if you keep it simple.


Holy shit, one per day? Flipping brutal!


Not to detract from your interpretation, but I do wonder to what extent the "social commitment" motivated you to actually start working. I personally have found that, despite considering myself fairly disciplined, fixing my social environment has been the best way for me to accomplish my goals (e.g. exercising, writing, learning, etc.). Obviously this is not always feasible, but it's always I something I explore now as an initial solution.


Yeah I think mostly it was a desire to transition out of my day job (which of course didn't pan out), but also because my friend and I just held each other accountable and sort of shamed each other if the other started feeling lazy. Not the healthiest way of doing it, but it sort of worked for that period of time


I think comedy is one of the hardest things to pull off commercially. I did some attempts at stand-up at local open mics and it was brutal (mostly). It also taught me that the crowd is unpredictable (the success of a joke depends not on how good the joke is). Creativity and coming up with genuinely funny shit for me is linked to not paying attention to what your audience might want to read in the same way as an author who "writes for an audience". It kills your authenticity.

while pandering to your audience is bad you _do_ need feedback - so a catch 22. If you have a chance to play with ideas with a couple of other writers/comedians who take the process serious, feedback worth gold because nothing beats bouncing your ideas off one another. the other route is to try to do it all by yourself like Stewart Lee[1][2] who is imho a comedy god - but it requires insane levels of dedication, self-control and tenacity to get there (alone). Whether you're into comedy or not, Stewart Lee's "Content Provider" (imho) is a must watch for anyone who thinks about digital media (most people who reads HN).

one of my favorite sources on how to constantly be creative (not just in in the space of comedy) is John Cleese[3] and Keith Johnstone's "Impro"[4].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uovt1sC3rtM&list=PLWsk2FPzPs... (sharing this list feels wrong because jokes on stage live on back-references to previous jokes so much is lost)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/profile/stewart-lee

[3] https://www.amazon.com/So-Anyway-John-Cleese/dp/0385348266

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Impro-Improvisation-Theatre-Keith-Joh...


> The biggest thing to me was that I learned that motivation was something that could come after you force yourself to wake up early and just get started.

This is such a great reminder. Thank you for sharing!


The book, _Sh*t My Dad Says_, by Justin Halpern also tells a similar story. Before knowing his deal I thought he was a lucky bloke cashing in on his dad's humor, but I was floored by his discipline to get up and just write jokes day after day. This Twitter feed involving his dad just happened to be the one to blow up.

Sorry your publication didn't take off - it's entertaining.


> The biggest thing to me was that I learned that motivation was something that could come after you force yourself to wake up early and just get started.

Yeah, the biggest trap is to wait for motivation/inspiration before you start working. This rarely works!!!

The correct but counterintuitive way is to start working. After a while motivation/inspiration will come.


    After reading this article, though, I think what OP 
    wrote is sort of not what I imagined. Sitting at 
    home alone churning out ideas to some faceless email 
    for a name on your resume is not my idea of creativity
Yeah, jeez, it was actually kind of a bummer to read that in the article. That seems kind of soul-crushing!

It's always sort of been that way in "the biz" though, from what I've been able to discern, though I never realized it was quite so impersonal at times. You have joke writers who churn out tons and tons of stuff for comedians, editors, etc. who sort of mine that output for ideas. I remember reading about how David Letterman's Top 10 lists were produced and I think the writers blasted out like 200+ ideas a night for those lists, just so they could narrow it down to 10.

But I always thought there was some kind of ping-ponging of ideas, like you said. To me that's how comedy ideas have always developed, in my personal never-actually-done-this-for-a-living experience.


This feels like a really (legitimately) good idea. I expect a lot of money could be made! haha https://medium.com/thedailylemming/nyc-marathon-vanity-bibs-...


If it's any consolation, that was hilarious.


Agreed! I laughed out loud.


that actually means a lot, thanks :)


For what it's worth, this is really good quality writing.


thanks so much!


>Moms Irked by Loud Fireworks — MILF

:joy emojii with tears:


Thanks for sharing! 4 years later, the ‘Trump is Sacha Baron Cohen’ headline is still hilarious.


That reminded me of this video from the Onion, Meet The Man Inside The Nicolas Cage Costume, which I still love, 8 years later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKp29ZcslOM




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