10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.
Now if there’s any quote that can fire someone up to do something, that’s probably it.
It has followed me ever since. 10,000 hours. Who has the time to spend 10,000 hours rigorously doing the same thing over and over again? Michael Jordan? Efren Bata Reyes? Billie Jean King? All the geniuses of the world?
Since having come across this tidbit of information, I’ve tried to count the number of hours I’ve spent sitting in front of my desk and writing. I don’t think I’ve breached the 10,000-hour benchmark yet (does tweeting count?) Which has made me realize that I’m nowhere near the writer I want to be. Fuck, I don’t think I’ve even reached 100 hours.
You know the kind of writers I’m talking about: the kind that can just sit in front of a blank Word page and just go. Type, type, type until they create something out of nothing effortlessly. The kind that has probably spent more than 10,000 hours perfecting their craft.
That’s the word for it: craft. Writing is a craft. And the last time I committed myself to perfecting my craft was way back in 2015 when I still wrote regularly on a diary and on a blog. The years have piled up and have gone unwritten during my two-year hiatus. While I don’t really regret staying away from writing online, I feel like it’s the right time to once again crack my knuckles and do the sanctimonious act of committing things to memory in the best way I can.
I remember once back in Junior High, someone had asked me why I still kept a diary, emphasizing the word still as if the act of writing on a journal only belonged to elementary students. It had probably struck them as an odd sight to see a 15 year-old scribbling long, long paragraphs, willingly, on a notebook nobody would ever read. They were probably thinking, don’t we write enough long-ass essays? What da fuk u doing?
I said, by way of explanation, “I just want to remember the things that happen to me.” And went right back to scribbling.
And in a way, that has always been my reason for keeping journals, sending myself e-mails in the middle of the night, and writing online on blog platforms like these: I want to remember the things that count the most.
But over the years, especially with my work in campus journalism, I’ve found other, more important reasons to write stories. Sometimes it’s not just being afraid of forgetting. Sometimes I just want the story to be read by someone who needed it more than I do. Sometimes the story itself is reason alone for creating 300-word monsters.
My 2018 resolution is this: I’m going to reach at least half those 10,000 hours. As a writer, as a journalist, as someone who just wants to remember: I will perfect this craft, because one day, someone’s going to count on me to remember things the best way anyone can. And I’m going to do it.