Simon Rich, 29, does not take days off. "I'm obviously extremely, neurotically routinized," says the increasingly busy humor writer whose latest book, Last Girlfriend on Earth, came out this year. Ever precocious (he was once the youngest staff writer in the history of SNL), he got into a daily rhythm while writing his first novel at the age of 18. "Ten years later, it hasn't changed at all." His creative process, in brief:
8-ISH: Coffee. "One cup, but cup doesn't do justice to the volume. It's more like a jug."
EAT CEREAL: "I tend to stick to one type of sugared cereal until I can't eat it anymore."
WORK: "And then I just go right to it."
1-ISH: Eat lunch, a sardine sandwich with mustard. "I've been trying to vary it a little bit."
AFTER LUNCH: Procrastinate. "It just becomes a battle not to check Knicks blogs."
"AT A CERTAIN POINT": "I call it quits, and then I start reading, for one to four hours. I try to read about subjects that I'm interested in, and that usually helps me come up with ideas for stories and characters and jokes. I jot them down on a piece of paper, and I put the piece of paper on top of my computer—physically, on top. That way, the next day, when I go over to the computer, there's a list of things I could maybe write about, and it's less scary."
[Photo Illustration by Alexandra Bruel]