I have decided I am going to do my best to write for 2 hours each morning. Noble goal but already this am I have found that in order to write for two hours I need to do almost an equal amount of prep time. Otherwise I spend most of the two hours crawling through the web and gathering information.
I need to get religious about writing daily. Frequent use of the writing parts of my brain is the only thing that will keep those gears greased. I recently had an experience that brought that home but it was not regarding writing; instead it was drawing. I used to be quite good at drawing when I was young. But as life took over I stopped drawing. When I tried to return to it later in life I just felt frustrated and repeatedly gave up. The eye-hand coordination was no longer there.
When I decided to come to Florida to help my Mom I promised myself I would take a drawing class – which I did. Wow! As soon as I started drawing regularly the eye-hand coordination started coming back. Our assignment was to draw a minimum of 15 minutes a day. Drawing daily is so key to keeping the skills sharp! If I missed a few days when I drew again it would take me quite a bit of time to get into the flow again. Suddenly, the 15 minutes a day rule made sense. The 15 minutes a day rule is to practice anything you want to get good at for 15 minutes a day no matter what.
The 15 minute rule is rather fascinating to me because I have run into it in so many contexts. In fact, just the other day, I started my Mom on a 15 minute a day plan to work her way through her accumulated paper piles. FlyLady uses the 15 minute rule in her declutter plan against CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome):
Your home is filled with clutter of all shapes and sizes. This is why you
are unable to keep it clean. You have too much STUFF. All we ask is that
you set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. That’s it.
Anyone can do anything for only 15 minutes, even if you have to break it down
into 5 minutes segments.1
Let’s see, 10,000 hours is what research has shown is what it takes for someone to become an expert at something. 10,000 hours divided by 15 minutes = a mere 40,000 15 minute segments. Now divide that by days in a year (assuming you are doing 15 minutes a day) and you get 109.6 years. Yep! I guess if you did something for 109 years that even doing it just 15 minutes a day will get a person to expert status. Even if I just wrote for 2 hours a day – assuming that I was starting from zero in experience – that would be 5,000 days which is still 13.5 years. Even at 5 hours per day it is still over 5 years to reach the 10,000 hours.
Now of course, I am not starting from zero now or even when I started this blog. I have quite a bit of writing experience just from the writing I have done in my daily life and for work. Still, becoming a skilled author is going to take work. Luckily, it is work I enjoy.