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