“If I’m meant to be a novelist it will just happen.”
That was what I believed for a very long time. Have you ever thought that way? I reasoned that I was either fated to become a writer, or I wasn’t, and that would reveal itself in time.
Then, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.
I listened to it as a book on CD, and I remember the moment that I touched the rough patch on my car’s steering wheel and realized, if I want this to happen, I have to start doing it.
More than start, actually. The book dictates that 10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert.
All of a sudden, time seemed like the only thing that mattered.
In order to stay motivated, I made a chart on a piece of graph paper.
1. I defined three categories with a color code:
- reading about writing
- analyzing writing
2. I defined 1 square = 15 minutes.
3. I began to record my progress.
- I stopped recording reading about writing and analysis of novels because I didn’t feel like I needed as much motivation to keep doing those tasks.
- I only record writing time when I’m actually typing the words into my computer even though there is significant prep work that isn’t captured. My chart is a very conservative estimate.
- I spilled pie filling on my chart (see upper right hand corner). oops.
Benefits of this Exercise:
- Sometimes I need to see progress in a physical way in order to stay motivated.
- At the beginning, I only filled in one or two 15 minute squares in a single day. Now, I often write for over an hour consecutively. Seeing this progression on the chart encourages me.
- Looking at the chart reminds me that I am on my way towards 10,000 hours.
Please let me know in the comments, what motivates you to keep writing? Does the idea of ’10,000 hours = expert’ encourage you? Are you working towards 10,000 hours at some other task?
I welcome your comments!