Thursday, November 13, 2008

As they say, "practice makes perfect"


I've quite a fan of Malcolm Gladwell. I've enjoyed his books and his articles in the New Yorker. I also think he's an interesting character and I'm a sucker for certain types of geeks.

The reason for this quickie post is only this: In his new book, "Outliers", Gladwell writes about success. Gladwell cites a body of research finding that the “magic number for true expertise” is 10,000 hours of practice.

I did some math, which I am not good at (no 10,000 hours there for me). This would require 4.8 years of 40 hours of practice a week. That's no small thing, but it's not outrageous either.

The reason for this post? NaNoWriMo.
Writing a novel in a month is not going to make me a novelist. It might, if I was very lucky and some kind of genius. But I am guessing I am neither. Besides, my novel is truly awful. Maybe that's an overstatement, but it's not exactly good. How could it be? I've written over 30,000 pages in less than twelve days. How much thinking do you think went into writing that fast?

It's practice and practice is what people do to become good at something. Practice is also just good practice. Look: I'm a process vs. product kind of person, so I'm enjoying myself. That doesn't make me rich (or even close) but I'm having a good time. Maybe I'll publish a novel in 4.8 years. No, make that 13.7 years (at fourteen hours a week, not forty). Yikes. I should have started writing a bit earlier in life.

Painting note: Gerard Dou
Old Woman Reading a Lectionary c.1630
No comment.

7 comments:

Websafe said...

Hey! It's a picture of me!

Julie H. Rose said...

Oh puh-leez!

Websafe said...

Why not? She does look kind of like me, plus she looks calm; has a great head wrap, abundant hair in a high chignon and a warm fur collar; and is doing two of my favorite things -- reading and looking at pictures! Can you imagine a better old age?

Julie H. Rose said...

Okay. I take your point. In 20+ years, though, at least.

I didn't notice the chignon.

Websafe said...

Now that I'm on a different computer with a brighter screen, I see that what I thought was piled-up hair is actually a fur cap matching her collar. But she still looks well provided for, with her small brooch and plush-looking wrap. She won't go cold this winter!

Julie H. Rose said...

My screen is small. Didn't notice that cap.

I may be detail oriented when I'm making things, but I'm not when I'm looking.

Three Cent Stamp said...

NaNoWriMo is VERY ambitious. I wish you luck on it. I'm doing NaBloPoMo and even that seems a lot for me.