Friday, July 13, 2018

How Close Are You to Your 10,000 Hours? Viewing Writing as Practice

On our fridge we have a New Yorker cartoon.  A dog is sitting on a mountain ledge at the feet of his guru.  The caption reads:  "The bone is not the reward--digging for the bone is the reward."  I keep it there to keep me humble.  About my writing, and my 10,000 hours.

A past MISA student sent me a great article about this (thanks, Tom!).  As a beginner so many times during my life--in writing, in playing a musical instrument, in kayaking, in painting--I know well the impatience we can have to have it all now.  To be good enough immediately, to show unexpected genius, to land that incredible deal, because we have such innate skills.  We want to not practice writing, we want to just be a great writer.  Right?

Practice is the tedium, but practice is also the path.  Ask anyone who has mastered a skill how many hours they've put in.  Very few are gifted with it.  They've dedicated the time and attention.  

Your weekly writing exercise this week is to calculate your distance to those 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell cites as being necessary for mastership at any skill.  This article shares Oprah's view of this theory.  Interesting links throughout, if you want to click through.  If the link doesn't work go to www.cnbc.com and search for either name above.