Perfecting Presentable Content

Day 185 Week 28 Q3  Monday, July 4, 2022

Okay, I need some content to publish and what do you feel like talking about?

I want to talk about perfecting instead of improvising.  And I do not yet have a catchy title to discuss this but the issue is a large one, at least for me, who has spent his artistic life winging his way forward through improvising which served multiple purposes. Most of all I could not fail if I did not really try, and second of all there was rarely a record so it was unreferenced and therefore hard to judge, and third of all it is far more exciting to always be doing something new than perfecting something old.

But unfortunately, I have discovered at this late point in time that most wonderful outpourings are not only perfected but also rehearsed to the point where they appear to be spontaneous instead actually being spontaneous. Steve Jobs comes to mind as a presenter who seems to be spontaneous but rehearsed like crazy before presenting. 

Now it is not clear if he memorized a script or if he simply practiced and this raises another possibility. If telling a story, or presenting a talk, or performing a piece of music one needs to be extremely prepared and although winging it is fun it is not going to be as compelling as if it were perfected. 

I suppose the real goal is to get your material down so clearly that you can not really fail but certainly not to read from a script or repeat a memorized narrative. I think that bullet points for a talk perhaps with some interstitial material would work and as for music, well is it a film sore or something requiring a large orchestra in which case it does need to be predefined or at least almost completely defined. 

I have not taken the time to perfect much that I perform but I have taken the time to perfect music scores that were to be performed by others.  And this brings me to the current situation. 

If I want to be a concertizing keynote speaker does the music come first or do the words come first? Is the music in support of the story or is the story in support of the music? Or is mutual support possible? 

Well, my conclusion is the story to be of greatest value to an audience has to come first. At least if I am to be paid for it. Or on the way to having a lot of music to present. If I am to be a presenter I have to practice presenting and if I am to be a composer I have to practice composing and if I am to be a concertizing keynoter I have to practice doing that.

Some of these things can be on the way to other of these things which makes the task more straightforward to define. I do need to have a pile of content for I do not want to tell a linear story not only because I do not want to create a linear story but because I do not believe reality is linear either.

So here is what I am opting to do: create a pile of micro-stories or perhaps even short stories where a typical trade paperback is 5 x 8 inches and has approximately 250 words. This means a 100 apogee trade paperback would have 25,000 words. This implies blog postings need to be a least 500 words and at most around 1000 words for my spheres and that if I say an average of 750 words or three pages each sphere can be read in …. Roughly 3 minutes as the average silent reading date for adults in English is 238 wpm nonfiction and 260 wpm fiction.

Speaking rates: 

Presentations between 100 – 150 wpm for a comfortable pace

Audiobooks between 150 – 160 wpm (upper range that people comfortably hear & vocalize words)

Radio hosts & podcasters between 150 – 160 wpm

Auctioneers can speak at about 250 wpm

This means an average sphere was 3 pages, it would take  3 minutes to read and 5 minutes to present.

If I can generate one sphere per day, in a little over a month I would have a 100-page book that could be read in 100 minutes or listened to in 150 more than enough for any talk or presentation. If there were a ten-week quarterly cohort, covering three spheres in each virtual gathering, this 100-page book could function as a workbook or a set of videos or podcasts.

So here is the goal instead of improvising 750 words every day what if they had to be perfected and that means more than grammar and spelling and typo corrections. It means improving the level.  I assume this would take on the order of three hours to accomplish.

Now, what about music and art with some visual content? These could take another couple of hours minimum which means it is doubtful I could complete a sphere in under 5 hours but if I could by the end of a month I could have say 30 spheres representing ≈100 pages, and if the music and the video were both roughly 5 minutes per day, I would have 150 minutes of music which is the equivalent of 2-3 albums.

This seems a bit extreme but if I double the time it seems that two months could yield at a minimum a book and an album but equally importantly 30 spheres which could be assembled in ten narratives each lasting long enough to seed a virtual session.

So this is the goal by September 1st have at least 30 spheres, a book, a CD, and 2.5 hours of audio-video content. And if it takes another month so what? I am not going to sign up for more classes unit this is done. 

This content pile will be the equivalent of a CV to qualify me for a speaker agency, a university, and the content we need to launch ten sessions.  And of course, I need to keep it up and generate another 30 but this will take a lot less time than the first 30.

What do you think?