Saturday, August 31, 2019

Post 6400 - 10,000 Hours Refuted

Being exposed to the titles of so many of my earlier adjacent posts as I research my Top 100, I get distracted and read them. In the earliest years I was a psychblogger, because that was one field where I did have more knowledge than 99% of the population, and thought there were both myths that needed to be dispelled, and new information that might be of interest to many. Also, I had opinions.

It is a bit humiliating to conclude that I wrote more interesting pieces then. 2006 and 2007 were apparently good years for me.  As one practices the craft of writing, one is supposed to improve along many fronts.

Guess not.

Not for the first or last time I will say that touching down randomly in my archives might be more rewarding to you than reading what I put out now.


Zachriel said...

Assistant Village Idiot: "Post 6400 - 10,000 Hours Refuted", As one practices the craft of writing, one is supposed to improve along many fronts.

Progress requires what is called deliberate practice.

"As the story goes, a journalist was interviewing DiMaggio at his home and asked him what it felt like to be such a 'natural hitter.' Without saying a word, he dragged the reporter downstairs. In the shadows of the basement, DiMaggio picked up a bat and began to repeat a series of practice swings. Before each swing, he would call out a particular pitch such as 'fastball, low and away' or 'slider, inside' and adjust his approach accordingly.

"Once he finished the routine, DiMaggio set the bat down, picked up a piece of chalk, and scratched a tally mark on the wall. Then he flicked on the lights to reveal thousands of tally marks covering the basement walls. Supposedly, DiMaggio then looked at the journalist and said, 'Don't you ever tell me that I'm a natural hitter again.'”

It isn't enough to write for 10000 hours. Depending on your goals, you have to practice the elements of the craft necessary to achieve that goal. If your goal is to write "interesting" pieces, then you have to determine what makes a post interesting, study it, practice it. Then you will improve, rather than having to resort to mining the diminishing resource of what you had already acquired.

Zachriel said...

Deliberate practice

Zachriel said...

By the way, we find most of your posts to be interesting and well-thought, even though we don't always agree.

Sam L. said...

I'm gonna keep reading here, whether you get better or not. I guess I'm hooked.

Donna B. said...

I've been reading here for years. I can't remember exactly how many, but I got here because you made a comment on some other blog that caught my attention. I wish I could remember more specifically, but it's been well over ten years.

The craft of writing is communication, not thinking. If you think otherwise, check out a class on technical writing. Better yet, check out courses in PR and advertising. If I have any talent at all at writing, it's as a technical writer -- explaining what is known -- without having to give what's 'known' much thought. I am also cynical and put much of genre fiction into this category. "Deliberate practice" works quite well in those endeavors.

Perhaps that is what prompts you to think those are your more interesting posts. The posts that interest me more are those where you have disclosed your thinking process in some way or another without necessarily having come to some conclusion. Perhaps those posts aren't the best example of writing that has benefitted from "deliberate practice" but they are the ones that make me think.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think I am actually better at writing but my thoughts were more original then. Of course, I had 50 years of previous ideas to write about, and once I had knocked a lot of that back it comes down to refining ideas.

Zachriel makes a point that has some obvious truth to it, concerning the whole talent vs effort debate. Neither works without some of the other, certainly, and at highest levels, both are necessary. I may do a post soon on exactly where I think the evidence points.