Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Two Saturday mornings a month, when reasonable people are still in bed, David and I sit around a table with five or six other like-minded individuals and practice writing.

We do timed writings–ten minutes, twelve minutes, the magic fifteen, sometimes even twenty–and then read aloud what we’ve written.

Write. Read. Write. Read. Write. Read.

We follow principles set forth in Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. David supplies prompts for those who need a jumpstart. Subjects are neither prescribed nor forbidden.

Some of us write from life. Some write fiction. Some write poetry. David writes in a genre that can only be called “off-the-wall.” Everything we write is creative.

We do that for two hours.


Friendships. Fluency. Fun.

We see the people we write with only four hours a month, but we know them, in some ways, as well as–perhaps better than–some members of our own families. Their stories tell us who they are.

And there’s something about being with them, playing with words, playing off one another’s words, that creates energy–parallel energies, if you will–that affects our minds and our hands. We become more fluent. We become better writers.

As for fun–what can I say? We laugh a lot. When David, the temporary facilitator, looks at his watch and announces it’s time to leave, I’m always surprised. And disappointed. Those are the shortest two hours of my week.

Now here’s where we get personal. Our group is called Fifteen Minutes of Fame. It’s free and open to the public. New members are welcome.

If you live in or near Austin, Texas, you’re invited to join us. Bring pen and paper and just show up on the third floor of BookPeople Independent Bookstore, 603 N. Lamar Boulevard (corner of 6th St. and Lamar), on the first and third Saturdays of the month. We write from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

If you’re visiting Austin, you’re welcome to visit us as well.

And if you ever attended an Austin writing practice group called Writing From the Heart, you’ll feel right at home with us. Fifteen Minutes of Fame originated as Writing from the Heart. It’s been in existence for fifteen consecutive years. The name is different, but the process is just the same.

For more information, including 2010 meeting dates, check out our blog, Fifteen Minutes of Fame. If you have  questions, send an e-mail to the address listed on the FoF blog, or leave a comment there or at the end of this post.

4 thoughts on “Fifteen Minutes of Fame

  1. Wish I was closer, Kathy. This sounds like a great idea and a great group. Perhaps I can start something similar around here. I’d love to have a dedicated time like this.


  2. I wish you were closer, too, Susan. I think you’d enjoy the group, and we’d enjoy you. We’ve been invited to be featured readers at a monthly poetry reading, and this morning one of the members asked whether we might like to put together a writing retreat. So things seem to be heading in a direction none of us anticipated. If you get a group started, please let me know how it goes.


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