Saturday, January 21, 2012

10,000 Hours

My book club is reading The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about the book as a whole yet.  I think he tries too hard to simplify and quantify that which cannot be simplified or quantified, but he certainly raises some interesting points.

One of the points he raises is that you cannot truly become a master of something until you have spent 10,000 hours doing it.  And that "it" can be anything, from becoming a phenomenal rock band (the example he gives is The Beatles) to making yourself a top-notch computer programmer (a la Bill Joy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) or to (you know it was coming) being a superb writer.

Wow.  10,000 hours.  That puts a lot into perspective.  When I first started writing, I heard various people give me estimates of how long one needs to write in order to have something come of it (publication I assume they meant).  I heard 5 years.  Some said longer.  Gladwell estimates that 10,000 hours is about 10 years of your life, assuming you eat and carry on as normal a life as possible in the middle of all that practicing.  Considering I came into writing late in my life, that puts me way behind the eight ball.  Plus, I am in a job that no ways honors my creative need to express myself in writing -- like many other writers out there, I bet. least I'm not trying to be a professional tennis player.  I think I missed that boat already.  Or so my knees tell me so.  My posterior tells me it is completely fine with a few more years in the seat!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I know what you mean. 10,000 hours seems like a really, really, really long time. But if you count time scribbling on the bus, blogging, revising, first drafting, etc., it doesn't seem so bad.

    Besides, I've seen your work. I truly believe that your work is good enough to be published. You'll get there!