Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Cool Million

From time to time, I hear any number of reasons from people about why they don’t write (or sing or draw or play the piano or some other equally demanding task).  Most often, the cited excuse is a lack of talent. “I just don’t have enough natural ability,” they say.  That answer has always puzzled me.

For years, people described my younger brother as ‘tone deaf.’ He just didn’t have an ear for music, I guess. Or at least, that’s what everyone seemed to think.  Turns out, though, that idea is completely bogus.  See, while there may be some measure of ‘talent’ involved with singing, what it really involves is practice.  And practicing involves shaping the rest of your life around whatever it is you’re trying to improve.

Personally, I encounter the same challenges with staying healthy and working out.  I could stand to lose a few pounds, gain some energy, and so on, but I only spend an hour or two a week at the gym.  Certainly, that’s better than nothing, but it’s not likely to help me reach my goals.  Dedication and persistence are necessary parts of accomplishing any major goal, whether it’s losing 30 pounds, learning to play the cello (my wife and I very much want to do this) or writing a novel.

I read somewhere once that in order to reach ‘expert’ proficiency in any activity, you need to spend about 1000 hours doing it.  One thousand.  That means, if you spent a solid hour writing every single day, you would become an expert in about three years.  One hour a week? It will take you closer to twenty.

It gets better.  A reasonable pace for someone typing on their computer is about 1000 words per hour, which works out to about 17 words a minute.  Do the math.  1000 words per hour. 1000 hours of work.  That comes out to a nice, clean, even million.

That’s right. One million words.  That’s what it takes to become an expert writer.  There’s no other way to get better at it than actually doing it.

So, I guess we’d better get cracking.