How 10,000 hours is a useless goal for writers

Today I read an article on, in which the author assesses Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours of dedicated practice” to become an expert in the frame of becoming an expert writer and finds it… well, ludicrous.

Despite the name and driving inspiration of this blog. I agree with the article.

The central argument is basically this: if you’re writing about 216 words an hour – as the author of the article does – applying Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, means that your first 2.16 million words (equivalent to about 21 novels of 100,000 words each) are basically, um, trash. And if you haven’t figured out how to write a good book after 21 novels… then you will probably never figure it out.

For me, however, it’s not as literal of a goal as all that. The number is aspirational, and (as the author of the article concedes), being a novelist is about more than putting words on a page. The purpose of this blog is to experience hours upon hours upon hours of writing, whether that’s through reading, writing, editing, research, discussion about words, or whatever else might fall within the blog’s loosely defined raison d’être.

Also I’m not keeping track of hours. Let’s be honest here. That sort of eye-on-the-clock attention makes everything way less fun.

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