The End


This is the end. A little over 20 months ago I began this 10 Minutes of Words blog. Since then and counting today, I’ve written 591 of them – totaling more than 300,000 words. If I had written that many words of fiction, I’d have more than three novels. Which I guess is a lesson for those who say they can’t find time to write.

Of course, I wouldn’t have written 3 novels (fiction is such a different process) – but I might have written one. Or a bunch of short stories.

To be fair, during the first few months, writing every morning for ten minutes or so (I occasionally went longer) was a great way to start my day and get my brain up and running. For someone who can’t even imagine being a morning person that wasn’t a bad thing. But eventually, I found I dreaded it. I’d sit and stare at the screen for five minutes or more before I even had an idea what to write. Sometimes I’d have to start over when my thoughts refused to follow a logical path. More than a few times I erased an entire blog and started again with a different topic.

In short, this ten minutes began to stretch out to 30 on some days. It was no longer an exercise in thinking and writing – it became a central focus of my day. Some nights, I’d even lie awake in bed trying to work out a particularly complex argument. Ten Minutes began to occupy an inordinate amount of space in my head.

I tried various strategies – writing out lists of possible topics, writing a series of related blogs and so on. Often I’d look at the list and wonder what I had had in mind. The series almost always seemed forced. I eventually decided that winging it with a blank slate at least had the advantage of being spontaneous. Sometimes, they were the funniest blogs I wrote if not the most profound.

Still, I think I did hit profound on occasion – at least based on the responses I got from my readers. Eventually I may go back and see if I can mine these nuggets to see if there is enough gold to make a short e-book worthwhile. Or not.

For those who have been regular readers – all 40 or so of you – I appreciate your loyalty and support. On occasion it has seemed pretty lonely in here. Other times I’d hit a resonant note and several hundred people would drop in and see what I had to say. My record was the piece I wrote about the shooting at the Ottawa War Memorial which garnered over 700 views since it was published. Not exactly best selling territory. The least read entry was one about Gardens which attracted only 8 readers.

In any case, it wasn’t all about numbers – though obviously if I had 10,000 readers I’d probably still be doing it or actively looking for a book deal somewhere. I’ve enjoyed the process and the contacts I’ve made.

But this is it. I may be back from time to time as the mood strikes me but it won’t be a regular, or even frequent, thing. I’ve got other stories to tell in other venues. If you look for me – you will find me.

And that, at last, is ten minutes.

10 thoughts on “The End

  1. Geoff de Gannes

    As someone who still produces three radio commentaries and one newspaper column a week, I can empathize! I have threatened to pack it in many times, but can’t seem to back away from the writing. BTW … I have thoroughly enjoyed your work and at times your subject matter has influenced my thought processes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Tomporowski

    Well, I am sorry to hear this, Hayden (as one of your 40 or so regular readers 🙂

    But I certainly understand how this could come to consume way more thought, energy and time than you intended, and that you could put that time to use on your personal fiction writing or other projects.

    I would welcome the occasional “10 minutes” article or post from you, but wish you well with whatever you do next.

    If you are interested in embracing the role of public intellectual, I really admire the small number of people who do thoughtful op-eds for daily newspapers and other media. Most of the academics I know don’t speak to the media regularly or don’t do so in a way or language that most citizens can connect with. European academics seem to have a longer intellectual tradition of doing that. Might be a role you could help fill if you were interested.

    Looking forward to seeing you at When Words Collide.

    – Barbara Tomporowski

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kari Maaren

    As one of the forty, I’m sad to see the blog go, but I understand, having run into similar walls myself. It’s never fun when an enterprise meant to generate creativity slowly turns into a burden. While it lasted, your blog provided us with a few minutes of thought-provoking reading every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rodger doncaster

    I enjoy reading your thoughts, feelings and arguments. Well done 591 times. I have not read them all, but got enjoyment and enlightenment from as well as memories from the ones I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kent Pollard

    Thanks, Hayden. Can’t say I’ve caught event he majority of your posts, but always appreciated what I did. I hope you find something more fulfilling, and look forward to bumping into you in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Matthew Bin

    Echoing others here, definitely enjoyed reading the Ten Minutes posts, but I can totally understand how it can take over one’s mind. Thanks for some great essays in the meantime – it was always worthwhile to read your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read this on April 1st so thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Bummed to see it’s not. I enjoyed reading your posts every morning. Gave me a perspective on things I couldn’t find anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

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