Matt Ruby on Creative Writing and Editing Advice for Artists
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In Chapter 6 of 18 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, standup comedian Matt Ruby answers "How Have Side Projects Helped You Develop as a Standup Comedian?" Side projects help Ruby gather more ideas, edit ruthlessly or critically, and generate resulting work. He notes how the creative process - generate and edit - applies across disciplines including photography, comedy, music, and writing. Ruby is a standup comedian based in New York City.


Erik: How have side projects helped you develop as a standup comedian? Matt: I think generating ideas and editing are sort of these universal concepts for any creative stuff that I’ve done in my life. Like I take a pretty similar approach which is always be thinking about and be able to write down ideas. Like, I carry notebook all the time. Make way too much stuff, assume most of it will suck and edit really severely and then pick out the best and then repeat that process and keep honing it. I think, you know, whether you're talking about like photography or music or writing or whatever, I think there is, in my mind it’s a similar process of just generate ideas, way too many of them and then edit ruthlessly, you know, where you’re like be your own harshest critic. If you write five jokes and then pick three of them to do it will probably a certain level and if you write 150 jokes and choose three of them to do, it’ll probably a different level. And so I think that’s, you know, to me, whatever I’ve learned about the creative process across disciplines that’s the biggest thing is, you know, generate and edit.