Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eleven Minutes

ROSEMARY HARRIS: My husband recently told me about an article he'd read.
He does this all the time - usually when I reading something else...but I digress.

When I thought I might post something on JR about it I asked him for documentation and he cited the Wall Street Journal (I couldn't find it in their archives but did find it on the highly-respected website OMG Facts! It's possible that hubby actually reads OMG facts but I doubt it.)

Anyway, apparently studies have shown that in a standard 3 hour baseball game there is really only about 11 minutes of actual playing time. I have long believed that baseball games (much as I love my Yankees and Mets) are riddled with long stretches of grown men spitting or scratching themselves and announcers reduced to filling air time by saying "our producer's lovely wife Jeanette just gave birth to twins," and "Paul O'Neill's son just became a doctor.") But really...only 11 minutes?

It seems the same is true for NFL games.

But they're running back and forth the entire length of a football field or baseball diamond! How can this be? Well. There's a lot of standing around and talking. Switching teams.  Pre and post-actual playing time.

Like a lot of things. Kayaking for example - the gear, the loading, the drive, the landing. Actual time in the water? An hour and a half usually...for an all-day outing.

Then there's sex. Do we even want to go there? Let's just say for most men (not you honey!) 11 minutes is generous.

So what about writing? I shudder to think what the ratio of non-writing to writing time is. Standing around and talking. Switching teams. I don't spit but I have scratched.  
At a time when writers are also publishers, publicists, marketers, travel agents and shipping clerks it's sometimes scary how much time is spent on non-writing activities.

Any guesses? What's your ratio?

(I was going to run a pic of a baseball diamond but then I found the Derek Jeter pic and he's such a cutie...please g-d let's never find out that he's taken performance-enhancing drugs.)


  1. Eleven minutes? Really? Why am I not surprised about this?

    Since books seem to be getting written and published and into the hands of readers, I’m guessing the writing/non-writing ratio would tend to be more evenly distributed . . . .

  2. Verrrrrry funny, Ro!!!!! TStraw in Manhattan

  3. So funny, Ro! I just mentioned that statistic to Hugh, who is a major Red Sox fan, and he said, "That's not true," claiming it comes down to the definition of playing time.

    With writing, though? Boy, howdy! The other morning I spent two hours doing writing work - you know, putting up a guest post, ordering more author copies, responding to a fan email (I actually got one!), and so on - but did not even open the file for my WIP. No idea of the actual ratio.

  4. Too scary to contemplate Ro. But I do love the picture of Derek:)

  5. I'm with Edith's Hugh. I wonder what they're counting as "playing" - from the windup until the ball is back in the pitcher's hand? Because all that stuff like stepping out of the batter's box, leading off, looking back the runner... that's part of the game.

    It's like if you looked at how much PLOT there is in a book and took out establishing characters and settings etc., removed the suspense, and looked only at when stuff happens. And what fun would it be?

  6. Hilarious, Ro!I think our ratio in writing is higher, but it's still scary, all the non-writing stuff we have to do every day.

  7. Actual writing? As opposed to
    -looking out the window
    -plotting while walking
    -looking out the window
    -baking brownies during the much-needed break (from too much writing)
    -looking out the window
    -checking email for writing-relating messages
    -getting the damn printer to work
    -coping with the new computer
    -looking out the window

    I'm not even gonna think about it.

  8. I timed it once: Jeopardy has 17 minutes of actually Q and A in the 30-minute show.

    Pretty good, compared with baseball. Or writing.

  9. Speaking as an avid reader, I believe that everything you do as writers supports or enhances your writing in one way or another. So you are actually constantly working at your writing. (All people breathe all the time, even when they're not actively thinking about breathing. Although my physical therapist sometimes has to remind me to breathe when he's teaching me a new exercise:-)

    Thank you for that photo of Jeter!

  10. Very funny. Decades ago I heard a comedian saying that if real minutes were like football minutes, Shakespeare would still be alive and writing sonnets.

    Judging from my own writing history, I would say coffee--making it, getting up to pour it, and drinking it--gets nearly as much quality time as hands-on-keyboard time.

  11. Hah! No wonder I dislike baseball so much!

    My writing tally has gotten so bad lately. I blame my new iPad. It's too easy to just pick it up (like right now when I should be reading pages proofs!) and have at it with social media.

    OK, I'm outta here..I am...really...GRRR...self-annoyance level very high right now,

  12. Baseball, you either love it or hate it.
    Writing? No one writes anymore. It's all about clicks, likes, adds, reviews, and CTRs.
    As for sex, us guys want to believe we're like that old rock and rock song, "Sixty Minute Man." The truth of course is closer to sixty seconds.

  13. Strategy! In addition to the time the ball is in play, it's about strategy, and psyching the other team out. I'm watching my San Francisco Giants play as write, and the game is too close for my comfort, but I'm enjoying it anyway.

    Last night I watched my 49ers play their second preseason game, and that too, was about strategy: who's going to be first string when the regular season begins in two weeks, who can fill which position (we need some receivers!!) and giving the rookies some actual NFL playing time.

    I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the writers among you to plant yourselves in your chairs and WRITE!! I got to attend the Niners training camp earlier this month and yeah, the players are the ones who have to do the work, but they have coaches who are literally in their faces. And believe me, those guys are Professional Motivators!!

    You've got to be your own motivators, and I'm SO impressed and grateful that you all get your books written and shepherded through the long process and into our hands.

  14. The Red Sox beat the Yankees 6-1. Keep your cutie whatsisname. We love a man named John.