Formula for fantastic writing

So I recently read “Outliers” (forgot to review it the other day) and the premise is that it takes something like 50,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. So I’ve done the math to predict when I will be an expert writer based on the 50,000 hours principle.

In my Time Management post the other day, I suggested that people outline their day to maximize their writing time. Mine looks like this:

Writing/Editing 3-5 hours

Research/Market Research/Industry News 1-2 hours

Blogging/Networking 0.5-1 hour

If I work an 8 hour day every day that my kids are both at school (3 days/week) that’s 3 x 52 (weeks in a year) to make 156 8-hour days (I’m averaging out. They’re both at camp more days in the summer but they do have weeks off during the year). Then, I work a 4.5 hour day for the remainder, or 209 days. That adds up to (156 x 8) + (209 x 4.5) = 2188.5 hours in a year. To get to the 50,000 hours necessary to help me be the best writer ever, at this rate, I’d need to work for 22.8 years.

Even working an 8 hour day every day still wouldn’t get me to “expert” level for over 17 years.

Of course, I’ve already been writing since I was a kid, and I’ve been writing full-time now for about 3 years, but I have no idea what that adds up to. I’ve had no particular time-structure ’till now. Even a modest estimate of, let’s say, an average of 1 hour of writing a day for 1/2 my life, still puts me somewhere betwen 6 and 7,000 hours with 41-42,000 hours, or 19 years left to go, given my original and more reasonable time-estimates.

Geez. It’s a good thing I’m young.

Alrighty math whizzes, how many more years until you’re a super-fantastic writing machine?


4 thoughts on “Formula for fantastic writing

  1. kathytemean says:

    You mean the answer where he talks about the market? That is depressing. I didn’t see your name on the conference list. Aren’t you going to join us this year?


  2. Tracey says:

    Seriously. It’s enough to make you want to put your head in an oven.
    I miss going to conferences, but I think at the moment my time is better spent actually writing. I think I told the person organizing volunteers that if you guys needed my help I’d come, but I was also willing to do prep stuff before-hand, like lovely envelope-stuffing and the like.

    Let me know.

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