At dinner, the dashingly handsome sidekick told me about a conversation he'd had with a co-worker about a concept in a book.
The co-worker explained that, in order to master something, you have to work at it diligently for 10,000 hours.
This can apply to anything in life: teaching, dance, golf, cleaning the bathtub and ... WRITING, of course!
This is so applicable to writers, I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement. Because it puts all our hard work in perspective -- why we can't just pick up a pen and write the next, great international best seller (or most of us can't, anyway ... and even if we do, it doesn't mean we mastered writing, it just means we stumbled upon some crazy good luck).
I tried to figure out how long I'd been writing. I really have no idea, of course, but I've been consistent about it over the last five/six years. And of course there were all the books I wrote as a teenager (*cough*), which have to count for something (even if they were crap). I don't have those hours logged, but in high school I regularly stayed home from hanging out with my friends so I could write. (I know. Geek alert.)
To get a handle on this, if you write every single day of the year for two hours a day, you will log your 10,000th hour in about thirteen years. THIRTEEN YEARS!
This illustrates perfectly that, even with talent, there's no replacement for butt-in-chair, good, hard work.
A quick Google search led me to this article on the National Geographic website, which describes Malcolm Gladwell's book OUTLIERS, the source of this theory. There's a really cool visual on that page, too, with graphs, which you won't want to miss. Believe me. (Plus, some tips on cheating the rule!)
So the next time you're feeling discouraged, keep plugging away, because every hour you write brings you that much closer to MASTERY.
Have you mastered something? How many hours do you estimate you've spent writing?