Need An Icebreaker? Mike Sacks To The Rescue

on Wednesday, Mar. 2nd

One paradox of our hyper-connected culture: so many ways to reach out, yet so much bumbling in our efforts to communicate

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In the new book, “

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com/wp/books/”>Mike Sacks satirizes the tone deafness, misfiring, and just plain awkwardness  that often pervades our communication

But as he pointed out in our interview, we were plenty socially handicapped pre-internet, and many of the scenarios he depicts are just as likely to have taken place in the 50s as in the aughts

Sacks began writing humor pieces when he was in college

Nishat Kurwa: How does one start out as a humor writer?

Mike Sacks: Now, it’s easier than it’s ever been, in a sense

It’s easier to get published, it’s easier to get seen

You won’t get paid necessarily, but you will get your work seen, if it’s linked

I started off before, when there were very few outlets for humor writing

Now there’s plenty of outlets, it’s just a matter of having a real job to support yourself as you build up a resume

NK: Take us through that

Were you web publishing or submitting your pieces to different publications?

MS: Well in college,  I was submitting to print publications, but there were very few outlets for humor

There was Playboy, Mad, the New Yorker

As an unknown writer it’s very, very difficult to get into those

It was only once these online sites started — McSweeney’s, Opium Magazine, Sweet Fancy Moses — this was in the early 2000s — that it became possible to start writing humor on a consistent basis and be read

Before that it was really difficult

NK: Maybe one of the only disadvantages is that when you’re putting your humor  out there, and if you’re just starting out, you’re laying it all bare and in terms of the digital footprint, it never goes away

You may start to get better over time

  But all the really bad stuff is out there for everyone to read in perpetuity

Do you feel like that damages your prospects for moving up the chain and being more published in more eminent publications?

MS: That’s a good point

I think it can certainly hurt because you have no control over what Google ranks towards the top

It can be a piece you wrote as a freshman in college that you’re embarrassed about now

If an editor is looking at your work or wanting to know more about you, it’s not going to be a very good sign for you as a writer

But it’s one of the things you just have to do

If there are places that are willing to publish you, even if it’s just a small online site, just publish as much as possible

Worst comes to worst,  start your own site with your own collection of pieces that you’re proud of, rather than the early ones that you’re embarrassed about

But I think what’s most important is  just to keep writing, trying to get published, and to do it consistently

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