really liked this piece today by Andy Orin on Lifehacker.com from the How I Work series
“We spoke with Ira to learn about his workflow, how he crafts his stories, and which tools he uses to produce compelling shows every week.
Location: New York
Current Gig: Host and Executive Producer of This American Life
One word that best describes how you work: Unrelentingly
Current mobile device: iPhone 5 (and Anker Astro Slim3 battery for when it runs out of juice)
Current computer: MacBook Air, the smallest one, and a Mac desktop at work. I prefer reading books on an iPad mini. Movies and TV shows I watch exclusively on the iPad mini, never on a TV
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Jay-Z, Malcolm Gladwell, Tavi Gevinson, Shonda Rhimes. Seriously, Shonda Rhimes, how does she do it? How many TV shows is she writing and producing now? What’s Jay-Z’s day like? Does he work, like, ten hours a day, or just two? What’s his home stereo system like? Does Malcolm Gladwell set aside time in his week to look for stories? If not, where do they come from?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“An explanation is where the mind comes to rest.” This wasn’t said to me. I read it in Michael Lewis somewhere. Sometimes when there’s some uneasy truth about my life that I don’t want to admit, I will notice that my mind will keep insisting on that truth and this quote will come to mind.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers/fans?
I’d just say to aspiring journalists or writers—who I meet a lot of—do it now. Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.”