I am so happy to introduce you to one of my favorite clients, Kent Youngstrom. I was privileged to be able to edit his beautiful book, be something. if you want to make something. Not only does the book have gorgeous illustrations (he is a talented painter), but the content will blow you away. It inspired me to quit my job and take my business and writing full-time. How is that for major impact? To top it all off, it is really funny. He was kind enough to answer some questions about his writing process.
Note: Kent has a signature style of all lowercase letters. He also takes some liberties with grammar for a really cool artistic effect. In order to respect his poetic license, I will retain some of his unconventional choices. Bottom line: don't let grammar suffocate poetry.
- What is your business?
as much as i want to give the junior. high answer of “that’s none of your business,” i fear that would not apply here. my business is art. which really does not tell you much. so neither does my introduction of: i’m kent, and i’m an artist, but not the tortured kind. however, ifi add that i am on a mission to make the walls of your home, office, or secret lair as amazing as you are,, you should get a bit of a clue.
so i paint. the business part of that is that i sell paintings. you will, however, not find me in a gallery, which makes the art of selling the aforementioned paintings the business end of the deal.
- What inspired you to write your book?
when i set out on this unplanned journey of being an artist, i did not have the tools to make the path of selling art very smooth. i hacked and stumbled my way through it. i had several people bend over and lend a hand to help me back on my feet. i learned from them. i asked for their input. i watched them from afar. i even stalked them online.
eventually i figured a few things out.
i started to give back and pay it forward by helping others who were beginning their careers. many times my help was through words. folks seemed to like those words and asked me to write posts + articles about things around art + living as an artist.
the words piled up like unfinished paintings in the studio (there are several). and i felt like i was gathering enough thoughts to compose a book.
as per most of the things i do, i researched, asked some friends for help and set out to put it all together in one place.
- What was your writing schedule like?
early morning work out. drive kids to school. chug energy drink. two-hour time frame of uninterrupted painting with words + phrases.
i am a word vomiter(er). i throw it all out onto the table and then cut back, edit, and then add the frosting.
you either like my short + direct sentences and what i attempt to be simple comparisons of everyday life into a creative setting - or you think i write like a fourth grader. either is fine with me as long as i get a gold star for the refrigerator.
but the short + sweet does not just appear. it is mined, chipped away at and then polished. and hopefully even set in adisplay case for all to see.
- How long did it take you to write the book?
um. no idea.
really. i had been collecting tidbits for quite awhile + the original concept was for each chapter to be based on a rant of mine. (think baseball managers wearing uniforms from the book.) however, i was not convinced everyone would appreciate that much ranting. so it morphed it a bit. which is how i paint as well. i often start with one idea and let it go where it wants to. the more i force my way through a composition, the worse it gets.
however, i think once i decided i would self publish + was one hundred percent set on writing the book, it was only a couple of months of combining the posts + articles into a format that worked. this included adding chapters, writing chapters that never made it, having a few days where everything i typed was subpar and a couple of aha moments of what i considered personal smirk worthy times of “yep - that’s print worthy.”
- What motivated you to hire an editor?
i suck at editing / spelling / completing thoughts on paper. my head works faster than my hands. i care about the overall big picture and not the details.
i nervously sweat whenever i have something printed.
- What was the process of working with an editor like?
it was nerve racking to even send the content to an editor. my style is not sophisticated which for some reason i was a bit embarrassed about as i sent the document off.
i was told by many to forgo my no capitol letters style because it is difficult to read. however, i was set on keeping it and was ready for a battle regarding this.
it was so much easier than i thought.
it was necessary.
it was stress relieving.
it was worth every cent. dollar.
- Where can we purchase your book?
or for a signed copy.
- Where else online can we find you?