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ios
08-31-2011, 07:52 PM
Does it take 10,000 hours to become a "star" in the writing world? I was reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers (http://bit.ly/pflfLP)--great book, great author so far--and from the research and studies he looked at, that seems to be the magic number to excel in any complex task. I'm a couple thousand off that threshold number, but I felt not too long ago that I really crossed a threshold. Not doubt, I really did . . . in hours of work. And it inspires me to keep closer track of my hours and not just for time-cost purposes--which is enlightening on its own--but to see if I can somehow match progress to time put in.

So, what about you guys? Have you done your 10,000 hours yet?


Jodi (who blogged more about this here (http://bit.ly/nzAEWQ))

stray
08-31-2011, 08:02 PM
I like this theory and agree with it in principle.

But there is the talent factor. What is talent? Interest + practice = talent?

Maybe. But having worked in music, I've seen musicians that clearly have the attiribute of perfect pitch etc.

In writing it is less defined. I think most people can be taught to write and if they practice for 10,000 hours will produce something publishable.

But there's still those freaks of the lit world that seem to do it with ease. Were they born with a talent for writing>?

Good question.

Someone who for whatever reason seems naturally gifted at an art such as painting or writing or music, or indeed a sport will not realize their potential unless they work at it for 10,000 hours. I think this is true.

You have to put in the hours.

I don't like the word star, though. Comfortable in your craft would be a better way of putting it.

It makes sense to me - 9,999 hours and counting.

ChaosTitan
08-31-2011, 08:06 PM
10,000 hours of practice is as arbitrary as saying writers need to write a million words of crap before they write well.

There are some "star" bestsellers who one day decided to sit down and write a novel, did so, sold it, and it hit the major lists right away. Just like there are mid-listers who've put in years and tens of thousands of hours of work, and they are still hanging onto contracts by a thread.

There's no magic formula for becoming "a star." All you can really control is how hard you work at what you do.

willietheshakes
08-31-2011, 08:11 PM
Does it take 10,000 hours to become a "star" in the writing world? I was reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers (http://bit.ly/pflfLP)--great book, great author so far--and from the research and studies he looked at, that seems to be the magic number to excel in any complex task. I'm a couple thousand off that threshold number, but I felt not too long ago that I really crossed a threshold. Not doubt, I really did . . . in hours of work. And it inspires me to keep closer track of my hours and not just for time-cost purposes--which is enlightening on its own--but to see if I can somehow match progress to time put in.

So, what about you guys? Have you done your 10,000 hours yet?


Jodi (who blogged more about this here (http://bit.ly/nzAEWQ))


I think you're doing Gladwell a bit of a disservice here.
10,000 hours won't make you a "star" -- there are numerous other factors involved, which he also goes into in some detail (right down to year of birth as a contributing factor).
The 10,000 hours has to do with excelling at a task, not about becoming externally lauded for it.

In other words, you CAN control how good you become (and if you put in 3 hours a day for a decade, you'd damn well better be getting better!), but you CAN'T control whether you become a "star".

(And let's face it - a number of "stars" aren't actually that good at what they do. Talent is only part of it.)

quicklime
08-31-2011, 08:22 PM
you write until you get good at it.

you get good at writing based on the following (as well as other traits I will invariably forget):

How much you write

How much you read

How critical you are when you write

How critical you are while reading

Your own aptitude and inclination towards writing

Your ability to find your style and voice

Your ability to fix the things that go wrong

Wherever you started out in terms of literacy/ability in the first place



I have friends, brilliant friends, some far smarter than me, who wil never be writers, even if they wanted to--one is too obstinate to own up to mistakes so he can't ever really improve, one is brilliant but too lazy to work at anything. I also know people borderline illiterate; they will write well, if ever, in far more time than those who tested out of English in their college admission tests....again, unless they learn quickly and willingly and the testers refuse to do so.

there is no magic number, there are way too many variables in factors that make a writer, and each person's ability to embrace them.

nchahine
08-31-2011, 09:17 PM
Personally, I think that's a general guideline and doesn't hold true for a lot of people. From what I've seen, though, if you read a lot (good books, not trash) then that'll make up for a lot of those 10,000 hours.

Jamesaritchie
08-31-2011, 09:51 PM
The 10,000 hour rule is nonsense for any field that takes talent, as well as skill. Even in his book, Gladwell had to jump through hoops to show that superstars, the child prodigies, the geniuses, didn't "really" become good until the 10,000 hours had passed.

Even Beethoven, despite being better at three than most were as adults, still was "exemplary" until the 10,000 hours had passed, simply because that's when Gladwell picks a truly arbitrary point in Beethoven's life and says, "See, this is when he because truly famous, after 10,000 hour."

Writing is a field where the 10,000 hour rule simply falls apart. There are just too many cases, at least many hundred, and probably thousands, where someone sits down with no previous writing experience at all, writes something very quickly, and hits it big.

And, conversely, far too many cases where someone writes for decades with no success at all.

Ten thousand hours? That's just about 2.75 hours per day, seven days per week, including Christmas, Easter, and all those days the flu had you down, for ten years.

And how the heck do you define "exemplary" or "Excel"? If a writer sits down and writes a book that sells, and that the reading public loves, it's utter foolishness to say that writer is not "exemplary", or that he does not "excel". What, does it only count when some critic says you're now really, really good?

squeaky pram
08-31-2011, 10:13 PM
Writing is a field where the 10,000 hour rule simply falls apart. There are just too many cases, at least many hundred, and probably thousands, where someone sits down with no previous writing experience at all, writes something very quickly, and hits it big.

And, conversely, far too many cases where someone writes for decades with no success at all.


Jamesaritchie: the voice of reason, as I'm beginning to discover.

I think that in western culture, at least since the Enlightenment, we like to quantify. It's comforting. We can look at something--a disease, a system, a person--and know how it will perform. Our children take their SATs and GCSEs and are quantified, their future success predicted by the numbers. Our health care is measured out according to survival statistics. We find fact in numbers, where (in fact) there may only be suggestion and shadow or shades of grey. It's easier that way. It makes for better headlines, business proposals, talking points. I know I'm veering a bit off topic. But I suppose that what I'm saying is I often see this tendency even in discussions of creativity, which, I think, is mysterious, defying quantification.

Ok... a long-winded way of saying it all depends. One person's 10,000 is another's 200, or another's 20,000. I don't like to get hung up on this kind of stuff. There's too much to get hung up on already! Like what on earth do these characters want, or breakfast.

skylark
08-31-2011, 10:16 PM
There are just too many cases, at least many hundred, and probably thousands, where someone sits down with no previous writing experience at all, writes something very quickly, and hits it big.

I don't agree with that. Nobody sits down with no previous writing experience and writes something very quickly - they have to learn to write first! Not sure how many hundreds/thousands of hours you'd spend writing at school, but it's a fair few.

Conversely, when someone first starts to play an instrument, they've probably got zero experience, or maybe a few tens of hours playing the recorder and singing.

Like the million words "rule", it's a generalisation. Most people who get really good at something will have spent about 10,000 hours getting there. Some will be quicker...and of course many never get there at all.

squeaky pram
08-31-2011, 10:30 PM
I don't agree with that. Nobody sits down with no previous writing experience and writes something very quickly - they have to learn to write first! .

That's not strictly true. I agree, it's the common route, and a perfectly good one, but I've known a number of people who somehow "saved up" something and one day it came tumbling out. And though I'm not a great example because of my lack of follow-through, the third story I ever wrote was published in a prestigious journal. I admit it was luck, caprice, whatever. But it happened. And mine is just one of many such examples.

Of course, what happens to a writer after the lucky breakthrough is also important. The more experience one has, the easier, I think, it is to perform consistently to a high standard. There is no substitute for experience.

Becca_H
08-31-2011, 10:57 PM
Everybody has skills where they excel compared to the rest of the population. Be it writing and selling something quickly, passing your driving test first time, or playing the piano pretty much from birth. I don't really think we can take this type of natural skill into account.

As for me, I've done *whips out calculator* 4160. I have to say I saw an improvement in my writing after about 2,500 hours, and another improvement after 3,500. Not quite there yet though.

Shadow_Ferret
08-31-2011, 11:22 PM
It's not a pilot's licence requiring so many hours of flight before you can solo. And 10,000 seems so arbitrary. Like the million words of crap. I tend to agree with James. It all depends... on who the writer is, on how naturally talented they are, how much desire they have. Some might be good right away with minimal effort. Others might require a lifetime. There is no magic number.

Filigree
08-31-2011, 11:41 PM
OTOH, 'There is no magic number' is no excuse for not putting in the work.
In most arts fields, talent isn't a mystical aptitude. It's a combination of exposure to different media, learning techniques, refining skills, and establishing an individual style. That takes time. The time-frame is obviously different for every person.

Will everyone become a best-seller, if they only put in their 10,000 hours? No. But that amount of work should help separate those willing to learn and grow, from those who are only wishful dreamers.

There were psychological as well as financial reasons for the old guild systems of craft in the European Middle Ages. Some skills take a long time to learn properly and thoroughly.

areteus
09-01-2011, 01:00 AM
When does this 10,000 hours start? Because most children put in a good few thousand of those as they go through school and most of that on fundamentals like grammar and spelling which are as essential to a writer as pacing and plot (and frankly, I had lessons on pacing and plot in school as well and all through my life in terms what I read). By this defintion, I think everyone should be a great writer by the time they leave school... which is where it falls down for every field because we all learn skills in lots of little, subtle ways as we grow up.

And quantifying is not necessarily a good thing... an example I can give is based on the aforementioned GCSE results. In one of my post 16 classes there were many students who had high GCSE scores. Mostly A's with a couple of B's in the core sciences of Chemistry, Biology and Physics. You would think that these students would have good practical skills in science because practical skills are essential to pass GCSE (allegedly). So, in a practical lesson I ask the students to turn on the bunsen burners and put them on the hot flame. This is a year 7 (11 year old) skill, one of the first things they should be taught. Many could not do it. On questioning them it turns out that they went through their entire GCSE without using a bunsen burner themselves...

So yes, quantifiable measures are not necessarily good...

The lesson that may need to be taken from this is that it requires time and effort to achieve anything as a writer as well as talent and inspiration and being in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person at the right party. yeah, you could put in 10,000 hours of writing but if that 10,000 hours is spent doing the same old shit with no progression it is 10,000 hours wasted. Similarly you could have a few hours of genius and pump out a decent story and then spend the rest of the 10,000 hours or longer trying to get it published or you could happen to talk to the right person and find a match straight away.

It's not even a case of talent or acquiring talent via hard work. it's a combination of so many factors, some of which are luck and being in the right place at the right time.

skylark
09-01-2011, 01:44 AM
the third story I ever wrote was published in a prestigious journal.

Really? I'd have expected the third story you ever wrote to be when you were about six, and to be fifty words long tops.

Skill development starts at school, not when you decide to write for yourself.

jaksen
09-01-2011, 01:48 AM
There are writers who just sit down and write something and the world says hey, wow, you ought to publish that. They are sometimes discovered when they're asked to do an 'opinion' piece for a magazine, or a friend says, Hey, you were in the RAF during WWII and managed to survive - an amazing feat, given the percentages who didn't make it, like nine out of ten? - so why don't you write about your experiences?

Then the person does it - and he's only written maybe a few letters in his entire lifetime - and 'bang!' he realizes hey, I've got a knack for this thing called writing. So he sets out to writes some stories and a few novels and becomes a success at it, and nowhere, no time, no place in his life did he need to write for 10,000 hours first.

It happens.

ios
09-01-2011, 02:11 AM
Writing is a field where the 10,000 hour rule simply falls apart. There are just too many cases, at least many hundred, and probably thousands, where someone sits down with no previous writing experience at all, writes something very quickly, and hits it big.

Yes, when I read that, I wondered what about Stephanie Meyer? Didn't she write it because of a dream without writing before?

But I also thought on what he is delineating. Experts, or "stars" as I call them. And I thought back on my own writing experience, years back where I had a few things published in small press mags that I can see were not great pieces, to say the least. So then I started thinking about the divisions of writers as well, such as the midlist. So maybe you don't need to be excellent--and I'm using that word purposefully--to be published. (To make this point, I'm dismissing other contributing factors on how people get published or become publishable.)

But that brings me back to Stephanie Meyer. Hmmm....

Anyway, good points, all. I'm interested in reading more.

But I do have to admit I got something out of this that I'm not seeing too much in the replies. Which is why I'm probably an odd ball. On my blog post, I mention I got inspired by this number. Why? Because .... have you ever seen the TV show (in America) called Undercover Boss? Almost every single time it is painfully pointed out that the "boss" wouldn't make it as an employee because he's not fast enough. That implies you have to be as good as the veteran of ten years on day one. Maybe, as it's a employer's market these days, a case can be made for that. But to see that it takes about 10 years to really be considered excellent in a field like writing? That allows me to take a deep breath and say, as long as I work hard it will come. Not I have to be good now or I will never make it.

Jodi

gothicangel
09-01-2011, 02:14 AM
Really? I'd have expected the third story you ever wrote to be when you were about six, and to be fifty words long tops.

Skill development starts at school, not when you decide to write for yourself.

Learning to be literate is quite a different thing, compared to learning to write fiction.

Someone with a first class English Lit degree, can be quite hopeless at writing fiction.

Shadow_Ferret
09-01-2011, 02:18 AM
There were psychological as well as financial reasons for the old guild systems of craft in the European Middle Ages. Some skills take a long time to learn properly and thoroughly.
I really wish there was a writer's guild. Studying under the tutelage of a successful author, I think, would be so much more valuable than taking fiction workshops from Teaching Assistants.


Skill development starts at school, not when you decide to write for yourself.

No. School teaches you the tools and shows you the basics. Skill development starts when you start writing fiction for yourself.

Filigree
09-01-2011, 05:04 AM
Having professional writers as mentors doesn't always work. Patterson-style ateliers aside, writing is a mostly-solitary profession, or done in small editorial groups like comedy writers and travel writers. Writers are also surly bastards when their train of thought is interrupted too many times.

It's also too easy to learn a writer's faults as well as their strengths. In genre writing, both Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey experimented with having junior writers studying around them. Worked well in some cases, killed careers in others.

I've found that a lot of new writers, myself included, fixated on certain authors whose styles we liked. We copied those styles, internalized them, then -- hopefully -- struggled beyond them to find our own voice. The style I generally write in now is nothing like what I did fifteen or twenty years ago. Did it take 10,000 hours to learn? I have no idea, since I wasn't keeping track.

areteus
09-01-2011, 01:09 PM
I really wish there was a writer's guild. Studying under the tutelage of a successful author, I think, would be so much more valuable than taking fiction workshops from Teaching Assistants.


There are organisations out there who claim the title guild and are for writers... but I understand what you mean in this context - some form of apprenticeship. Some professional writers do seminars and writing classes at conferences sometimes and it would be great if there was a more formal way to achieve this so that you could get assigned to a professional who would then go through your work and help you. However, few professionals would have the time because they are busy being professional writers.

Though a good writers circle can achieve the same things if you manage to have some published writers in there who are willing to crit the newbies.



No. School teaches you the tools and shows you the basics. Skill development starts when you start writing fiction for yourself.

The tools are important, though, and I have seen many potentially good writers who may be losing out because they weren't taught proper grammar, spelling and punctuation at school (some of them are worse than me and I know I am bad...). Also, if your primary school teacher (or your secondary school English teacher) is the right person then you will be getting a grounding in the skills needed to be a writer. A good English literature course should be giving you the basics of plotting and characterisation by discussing these things in some published works and a good English Language course should include some creative writing to practise these skills. Children are also among the most imaginative storytellers out there and can produce some gems of creativity if properly motivated. They just often lack the discipline to turn thier ideas into something coherent.

I remember being at primary school and being a voracious reader and learning things like how to do dialogue from what I read. I remember spending evenings and weekends writing my absolutely terrible fantasy novel, which I was convinced was the best thing ever, in longhand in pen on sheets of A4 paper (and it really was terrible, absolutely awful). I remember my second novel in secondary school which gained some popularity from some of the other pupils because it involved aliens attacking the school and killing all the teachers (my lawsuit with the makers of the film The Faculty is ongoing and I still contest that mine would have made a better film :) ). I remember the well disguised but still evident look of disappointment in my English teacher's face when I told her I wasn't going to do English A level because there was more money in science (ok, I was wrong, all the money is in teaching and I wish I'd figured that out earlier...).

Now, all of that is fairly trivial stuff. I never would have got 'School Alien Invasion' published (especially not then as the internet had yet to happen and give us the wonder that is self publishing and epublishing and fan fic) but writing it gave me an endless supply of lessons into how not to do it, how much work in involved in writing and so on. School is supposed to be a nest - a safe place to try out new ideas and practise things before being kicked out into the big, scary world - and I think my experiences of writing at school fitted that concept because they gave me the chance to make mistakes (awful, awful mistakes that should be burnt and stricken from the memory of all who read them) so that when I did start thinking about writing and publishing seriously I already knew a lot inckuding the fact that there was still a lot to learn.

Terie
09-01-2011, 01:24 PM
There are just too many cases, at least many hundred, and probably thousands, where someone sits down with no previous writing experience at all, writes something very quickly, and hits it big.

Really? Name five writers with 'no previous writing experience at all' who wrote 'something very quickly' and 'hit it big'. Names of the authors and titles of the book, please, so we can check the credentials.

Or will this be yet another example of JAR making an outrageous claim and not producing the evidence when challenged?

seun
09-01-2011, 03:07 PM
Never heard of this 10,000 hours thing and wouldn't think it has any practical worth.

So many new writers seem to think there's a magical formula to writing. A book must have the perfect number of chapters/words/scenes/characters. It must have a car chase every five pages. It must have an MC who's the exact age as the writer. It must have a certain number of paragraphs per chapter.

Crap. There's no magical formula. There's working at it until you're good enough to be published. Then there's your ms landing on the desk of the agent or publisher who's the right one for it.

flarue
09-07-2011, 01:10 AM
*Sings like Dory, from Finding Nemo* Just keep writing, just keep writing.... :tongue

I think you just keep at it until it's good enough to make it to the publishing stage. I don't really pay attention to how many hours or years that I write. I continue to read books, and I take what I've learned/absorbed and apply it. The more practice you have, the better your writing improves. I don't think there is a set number of hours that you have to have, however.

jjdebenedictis
09-07-2011, 09:53 AM
Really? Name five writers with 'no previous writing experience at all' who wrote 'something very quickly' and 'hit it big'. Names of the authors and titles of the book, please, so we can check the credentials.

Well, Stephenie Meyer is one, as someone else pointed out. She had a dream, wrote a book in... (**quick Google session**) ...six months, and it became Twilight, the roaring beast of ka-ching, ka-ching.

This is what she said regarding her previous writing experience:
Up to this point, I had not written anything besides a few chapters (of other stories) that I never got very far on, and nothing at all since the birth of my first son, six years earlier.

While that's not no writing experience, she had definitely not paid her dues, so to speak.

areteus
09-07-2011, 01:04 PM
Images of writers touring lowdown dives and writing in front of tiny audiences are now springing to mind...

shaldna
09-07-2011, 01:27 PM
Never heard of this 10,000 hours thing and wouldn't think it has any practical worth.




Me neither.

I think that writing is like pretty much anything else in life - some people need more time and practise than others, and that's okay.

Some people might take twice as many hours or words or books as others.

I don't think you can put a set time value on writing. It takes as long as it takes to reach your peak.

ios
09-07-2011, 05:35 PM
Does it take 10,000 hours to become a "star" in the writing world?

Update: I recently met with a bit of serendipity at a yardsale Friday. I found more on this 10,000 hours/10 years topic in the book Water the Bamboo (http://bit.ly/ow0mhN) by Greg Bell. More specifically Bell emphasized the deliberate practice aspect behind the 10,000 hours/10-years idea. There were a few things one needed to do, according to this chapter, to be successful, and they were putting in the hours of deliberate practice, practicing on something outside your comfort zone, and working with a coach who mastered the skills you want and who can give you specific feedback on how to improve. I found that last one especially intriguing.

What do you all think? Do you push yourself? What do you do with feedback? How do you deliberately practice?

Jodi (who blogged about this here (http://bit.ly/nHNjNt))

PS: Thanks for commenting on this thread, all. I really enjoyed the replies :-) I tend to get a little gung-ho about a new idea and its helpful to get others opinions on it too.

quicklime
09-07-2011, 05:44 PM
PS: Thanks for commenting on this thread, all. I really enjoyed the replies :-) I tend to get a little gung-ho about a new idea and its helpful to get others opinions on it too.



nothing at all wrong with being gung-ho, just be realistic, too.

"It takes a shitload of time or repetition to do something well, in general."

That works for me, absolutely, both because you don't set an arbitrary number and you still add a qualifier. But what takes one person 10,000 hours may take another far more, or far less. There are mitigating factors, and the "high rep" theory is nothing new--our dance instructor suggests it takes about 1000 repetitions of a given activity to start to really re-pattern the neural networks and make it start to "stick" and become "natural". Of course, it would likely take far less than the 1000 reps for someone in ballet to learn Rumba walks, and far more for someone learning to do them on a new set of prosthetic legs.

It takes time and effort to become a good writer. Often lots of it. But don't get hung up on an arbitrary number, because it is just that, arbitrary.

ShadowyEclipse
10-06-2011, 03:50 AM
Well, Stephenie Meyer is one, as someone else pointed out. She had a dream, wrote a book in... (**quick Google session**) ...six months, and it became Twilight, the roaring beast of ka-ching, ka-ching.

This is what she said regarding her previous writing experience:
Up to this point, I had not written anything besides a few chapters (of other stories) that I never got very far on, and nothing at all since the birth of my first son, six years earlier.

While that's not no writing experience, she had definitely not paid her dues, so to speak.


Excuse me, but I had to throw in.

People consider Twilight an actual book?

Yes, but back on track. *Ahem*

Writers should not judge other writers based on the words they have written, the hours they put in, (Which are huge for all writers who DO Love their books,) or even the sales and revenue. There are many that struggled like a fish on land before they grew gills, and came out with a success, and there are some that have lungs to begin with, and make it off the top. While it may seem infuriating to those who put in more time, and admittedly I would be too.

TL;DR, Hours don't matter. It is the love you put into your writing.

lucidzfl
10-06-2011, 09:32 PM
I can't see how 10,000 hours means anything. Someone who writes 20 words per minute and gets lost in research and making notes and diagrams could spend 10,000 hours and have only one book to show for it.

People who type 120 words a minute and write fantasy and don't do research could write like 900 books. (do the mathsz)

amlptj
10-06-2011, 09:39 PM
Just because i'm a geek i wanted to estimate how many hours i've written.

So I've been writing for 9 years. 9 years= 78,840 hours. Now i wasnt writing every minute... but i write ALOT... so lets say i write for 1/4th of my day every day. 2/4 for school, 1/4 for sleeping, 1/4th writing. (Might be a little exsessive but taking into account days when i do nothing but write and days when i dont at all i think it evens out pretty well) So 78,840/4=19,710 hours writing!!!

tim290280
10-06-2011, 10:20 PM
10,000 hours of practice is as arbitrary as saying writers need to write a million words of crap before they write well.

There are some "star" bestsellers who one day decided to sit down and write a novel, did so, sold it, and it hit the major lists right away. Just like there are mid-listers who've put in years and tens of thousands of hours of work, and they are still hanging onto contracts by a thread.

There's no magic formula for becoming "a star." All you can really control is how hard you work at what you do.
You are very correct.

Gladwell's entire book is based upon a couple of small population studies and then a bunch of anecdotes. The study on musicians broke them up arbitrarily and said that some weren't any good, yet it didn't measure their ability, just their seniority. Who'd have thought they were related to hours of study.

Then of course there are the anecdotal examples. Excuse me while we ignore all the other examples that refute the 10 year / 10,000 hour supposition.

I'm not saying we shouldn't acknowledge Gladwell's central premise that it takes work and practice over time to be any good at anything. But to say it takes X amount of time is just stupid. I'd almost guarantee that to become "an expert" at something would have a normal distribution over a time scale with factors accounting for intelligence, ability (coordination, vocabulary, i.e. the ease individuals learn skills needed) and environment.

As for writing, well the argument still stands. I've read first books that are superior to everything after that by an author. I've read first books that are a pale comparison to the more recent books by an author. Writing takes skill and intelligence, the former taking time to develop and the later having a component of knowledge and application that also takes time to accumulate.

So really, we should be worrying less about the number of hours or years and focus more on improving with practice.

Ken
10-07-2011, 04:16 AM
... if you talk "averages" then stats like "10,000 hours" or "1,000,000 words of --" probably hold up to an extent. For every writer who succeeds overnight, there are a dozen others who make it only after years of effort. Balance them all together and you'll arrive at figures like those above. It's a useful thing to know, but it isn't necessarily an accurate or even approximate forecast of how any one individual writer will perform.

adarkfox
10-07-2011, 11:53 PM
Now if we could just find out where to get the triplets (Pure, Blind, and Dumb Luck) we could just skip 10,000 hours of practicing and skip to stardom!

I thought it was interesting one of my college drawing professors told our class how anyone could learn to draw well, or to paint well. Lots of snickering and guffawing ensued, as there's always that one kid you know that just drew leaps and bounds better than anyone else you ever knew... "the kid with the talent".... My professor just shrugged and said anyone that wants to learn can learn, and do well. You won't get there as fast as the talent, and you can't learn the talent, but you can learn everything else you need to be successful - if you want to.

I used to wonder if everyone had a natural talent, like something they could do extremely well if given the right circumstances. I always figured my hidden talent was for something I detest, like golf. That's why I work at this writing thing ;)

DeleyanLee
10-08-2011, 12:31 AM
Nora Roberts also comes to mind as someone who started writing, produced 6 books in a year and started selling them within 2 years.

From the Wikipedia article:

She began to write during a blizzard in February, 1979 while housebound with her two small boys. Roberts states that with three feet of snow, a dwindling supply of chocolate, and no morning kindergarten she had little else to do.

In 1980, a new publisher, Silhouette books, formed to take advantage of the pool of manuscripts from the many American writers that Harlequin had snubbed.[21] (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/#cite_note-regis2-20) Roberts found a home at Silhouette, where her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred (http://www.absolutewrite.com/wiki/Irish_Thoroughbred), was published in 1981.

rugcat
10-08-2011, 12:58 AM
This is what she (Meyer) said regarding her previous writing experience:
Up to this point, I had not written anything besides a few chapters (of other stories) that I never got very far on, and nothing at all since the birth of my first son, six years earlier.
It shows in her writing.

But yeah, the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to learn to write well is silly. A few are perfectly competent from the get-go. Others take a little time, still others take longer, and some never do acquire the necessary skill. It is a skill as well as a craft, after all.

Filly
10-08-2011, 03:43 AM
That translates to 416.666666 DAYS. That is greater than a year of just pure writing.

If someone only writes 10 hours a week, that would mean 520 hours a year. It would take slightly over nineteen years to get that many hours.

Of course, it could be much faster depending how many hours a person normally writes. You think after that much there would be some level of expertise. However, the writer needs to have standard to compare to, otherwise, if someone only has poor writing and continues to practise poor writing with mistakes, that could be very bad.