The other night when I was talking with my fellow writers at group, one of them mentioned the “10,000 Hours Rule” by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. The idea behind this is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field. I would love to be able to figure out where I am on that scale. How many hours have I put into my writing and when do those hours start? Did they start when I was a kid telling stories, or when I was a teen trying my hand at my first novel, or when I finally made the decision to go back to school and found screenwriting? If we start from the moment I started calling myself a writer, I probably have a few thousand hours still to go.
I have seen how my writing has changed over the years, and even in the short time I’ve been blogging. It has helped to hone my voice. So a big THANK YOU for helping me do that! Clearly, I still have a little ways to go.
As writers, we have to continue to learn and grow through practice, reading, and just being a part of the world – where we probably get most of our material. I have binders full of notes, and every once in a while, I’ll flip through them and stumble across some useful tidbit like the one I’m going to share today: the “Be a One-Hit Wonder” theory.
Yes, it sounds like a negative, but it’s really not. The idea is that we prioritize our work. Something I need to learn to do.
The theory is two-fold. 1) Evaluate which pieces are time sensitive; have deadlines (actual or self-imposed), or need lead time. And 2) Finish shorter pieces first as that boosts confidence and gives us closure.
The idea is to make consistent, manageable progress on those things we can control.
I think this concept is one of the reasons I’ve been escaping into flash fiction and fan fiction, the sense of accomplishment. And I even called one of my blogs “An Odd Sense of Accomplishment” when I talked about finishing my fanfic piece. There is a sense of relief at seeing a final product after long stretches without one.
Screenwriting is my passion, but sometimes it is a struggle to get the words on the page. I think it has to do with the awareness that I am passionate about it, I want it to be the very best it can be, and that every word matters so the value of its importance is heightened and therefore a harder end to find.
And this directly relates to last night’s late post. I have a third act to finish. That’s it. Completely manageable. Once I find that closure on this particular piece that I have long (long) sought after, I will evaluate all the other pieces in my portfolio and create my One-Hit Wonder list. Which projects will offer me that sense of accomplishment in a shorter amount of time and lead me further along my journey towards professional writer? I look forward to finding out.
What do you think of this idea? Is it something you might implement?