On This Being Written in Only Fifteen Minutes

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When I first started researching publishing seriously (which, unfortunately, was several months after I’d started submitting my first novel to agents) (which method, by the way, in not recommended) I found a lot of publishing information through reading blogs of publishing professionals.

One such professional publishing professional was (and, I assume, still is) Kristin Nelson.

The reason I bring her up at this point is because – well, even though she’s an agent rather than a writer, we shared a similar focus.  That focus: getting work done.

In her case, the work was agenting.  In my case, the work was writing.  In both our cases, our work was definitely not writing blogs.

So, what she did was decided to spend only fifteen minutes a day writing her blog. (She also only writes during her work week, an agreement I can’t make with myself at the moment due to the Year of Living Bloggily.) If you go check out her blog, you’ll find it chock full of interesting information and that pretty much each entry seems fully thought-out and entertaining enough to keep you interested in seeing what the next day brings from Nelson’s pen.  Keyboard.  Fingers.  You know what I mean.

I thought, at one point, that I might be able to do the same myself.  In theory, it would be feasible (see how much I’ve written in only five minutes so far?), but in practice, I consistently sprain my ankle at the starting line.

Why?  Because I like to take my time when I write.  I like to be distracted, whether by people rushing through a coffee shop or by the glinting of the sun on the lake (as of now, out the back of my parent’s house in Yorktown).  I like to let the words tumble out a bit at a time and see what shapes they make as they fall.

Often, this experiment seems to me to have failed.  The ideas are strung together in a necklace that has no claps and, therefore, can only be thrown about the neck rather than purposely hung.  The final jewel on the chain is cubic zirconium rather than a fake pearl, and the mishmash attracts stares not through beauty but via strangeness.

Sometimes, though, the slow accumulation allows me to feel that what I’ve set down on the page is fully-thought out (even if it doesn’t cover every avenue available in talking about a particular movie, game, food, etc.) in a way that is only possible with the long, meandering way that I write.

But if I spend all my time meandering through a blog, then I don’t spend it, say, meandering through a new poem, or story, or play, and that THAT is really what I want to spend my time on.  THAT is what my focus should be.  AND SO fifteen minutes, just like Kristin Nelson, would be ideal.

I’ve about come to the end of my fifteen minutes, and about to the end of this page (using Garamond 12pt font in the newest version of Word).  Just a final NOTE then: My friend Hank Hancock (well, I went to school with him, and we get along, even if we don’t see each other, well, ever) posted an article to the Houston Press Blog a few days ago that listed the event I spearheaded (using his words) earlier this year as one of the Top 5 DIY Art Events of 2010.

That event?  Poetry and Art On-Demand.

Check out Hank’s article, then check out this video that Jenni Stephenson (at Spacetaker, who hosted the event and helped bring it all together) put together to get a taste for what we did.

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