Malcolm Gladwell writes that you require 10, 000 hours of practice to become truly skillful at something.
This highlights the problem with the nature/nature question: is performing 10, 000 hours of practice in anything the result of a biological inclination, or an accident of circumstance? Or is it a combination of both?
The areas I wish to become skillful in are the fields of writing, draftsmanship, and design. Being able to write well and knowledgeably about a wide range of subjects is a core part of this skill.
To get some perspective on my 10, 000 hours consider this: if it takes me one second to write one word (and considering the possibility of multiple drafts, research-time-per word etc this is quite likely) then I will need to write some 36, 000, 000 words to become truly proficient.
Professional writers often get this experience in journalism (as in the case of Charles Stross and Malcolm Gladwell) or just through huge amounts of practice.
So far in my life I have probably written around half a million words. This needs to end now. I need to write more and more often.
As I imagine it writing is like anything else: if you keep doing it you will eventually become proficient. If you keep the wheels spinning and well-oiled things should develop in due course.
I also need more practice at narrative-building. I need to learn how to create a plot and build characters and plug everything together.
I suspect that there are plenty of writers who don't write 36, 000, 000 words in their entire lives. Writing copy may be one of those skills that reaches a plateau of excellence before it needs to be given an additional boost by an insight into the human condition.
On a completely unrelated note it would be a good idea for me to get a new keyboard if I intend to write so much in the future. This one is really appalling.
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