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.