So, apparently, there’s a book (This is Your Brain on Music) out that talks about creativity and expertise. The author, Daniel Levitin, writes:
“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of
practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a
world-class expert–in anything. In study after study, of composers,
basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess
players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and
again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or
twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t
address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others.
But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was
accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to
assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”
Conventional writing wisdom also has it that you have to write a million words of crap before you’re on the right track.
The annoying, logistical part of my brain tells me (after informing me that blogging doesn’t count as “real” writing, and that I should get back to the Norse saga I’m working on) that those two numbers mean you only have to average a hundred words an hour if you want to be an “expert” and not write crap at the very same time.