Something Wicked This Way Comes
Death Is On The Table

ROW80-2 checkin 4/18 - more than a writer

It was only a few months ago that I decided I would think of myself as a writer. Not an aspiring writer, but not a professional one either - somewhere in between. I tried a few exercises - some short pieces, a draft novel or two, I'd enjoyed the challenge of creation and the satisfaction of the finished work, and had received some positive feedback. I realized that I liked this writer thing, that I seemed to be able to do it well at times, and would like to focus on it and see where it would take me. 

There's a recent book, Outlier's, which proposes that the key to success in any area is basically to work at it, by practicing a task, over and over, for 10,000 hours. Linked to that success would also be the need for some talent in that area - would be a shame to basically waste all that time when there might be other things you could have focused on. Which is a good reason to make sure we try many things in life to see if we've a talent there, a passion.

Anyway, back to writing, even with a fanatical dedication of ten hours a day, that would take over twelve ROW80 cycles. Or three years. I do realize the original 10,000 number might be too high, and that even with the first 100 hours there would be some improvement - it's a gradual thing. And for writing - does that mean 10 hours a day hammering away at the typewriter? Or does it include editing, submitting, marketing, reading, learning - all those things a writer needs to spend some time on? What it boils down to is a question of priorities for my retirement hours. I COULD focus on mastering one thing for 10 hours a day, but I don't WANT to do it, as I would have to drop most of my other pursuits: reading, hiking, CBC radio, music, grandkids, TV, newspapers, trombone, science magazines, sharing a cold beer in the hot sun with friends. These are all things that make me who I am and feed my creativity.

I admit I started this ROW80 cycle with higher expectations than the last one, with lots of hours planned each day, and I have tried harder, encouraged in part by the humongous lists many have for their objectives - lists they even manage to get through at times. And encouraged by other writers I have met. Still searching for a balance.

What do I want?

  • To edit my two WIP's, maybe take them to publication, and continue writing a new one each year. 
  • To keep doing Flash Fiction challenges
  • To stay connected with "the writing community" - whatever that is.

So - progress report for Wednesday (on Thursday) is:

  • WIP - page 60 of 316 - progress varies by day and content - one hour at a time seems an easier target to start with, easier to commit to and work into the day
  • Flash Fictions - did another one, late last night, Something Wicked This Way Comes, for Flash Fiction Friday. Some good feedback already, might tweak it later. Still have one due for tomorrow, for Terrible Minds, on death.
  • Connections - I am keeping up with writing related Facebook groups, as well as some blogs, but should comment more. Sometimes am hampered by limitations of iPad and/or the mobile Google Reader, so it goes better as an indoor home computer thing.






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L.S. Engler

Those are such great, solid goals, and it looks like you're doing great at them, too. It's always important to give ourselves that little extra push; RoW80 has really been a blessing in that respect. I could stand to keep up with Flash Fiction challenges better, though....

10 hours a day does seem a lot. I wonder if we can count "plotting" (aka daydreaming) or "market research" (aka reading and/or investigating "other media" aka blogs and TV shows and movies) in those 10 hours? In which case it just gets much easier. I've recently dedicated myself to the task of treating my writing like a real job, and even after six hours, interspersed with a little bit of reading and games on my Kindle here and there, I start getting restless...10 hours just makes me think, "Oof."

Anyway, keep up the great work, Mike. I'm glad I finally got a chance to swing by your blog and comment. :)


Mike - these are great goals! I wish you the best in accomplishing them. I know you can pull it off. :)
And yeah, ten hours a day.. wow! Maybe write up a schedule of sorts.. :)


Ellis - thx - part of the challenge is in finding goals that give us enough of a push to get us going, without pushing us over the edge. I agree ROW80 - and the people I have met through here - has been great for this.
I certainly don't intend to spend 10,000 hours mastering anything, but I do get his point, that we part of success at something is just putting in the hours and working at it. That - and having some talent to begin with, to build on. Which is why I think we all need to try our hand at many different things in life, to find where that talent lies, to find our passion. Or passions.
I do like your loose criteria for deciding what to include in those 10,000 hours - all for analysis, design, marketing research.


Thx Ninj - bit of a balancing act at times, but more fun that just standing firmly on the ground.
Geeez- feeling poetic this afternoon - good time to tackle another flash fiction!

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