By Keith N Fisher
Last week I talked about the phases we go through in becoming the writers we want to be. Then I went to church and heard a lesson on developing your talents. I realized what I should’ve written last week, so I’m going to share it this time.
In the book, Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell, the author talks about studies made where they analyzed what made some musicians great, as opposed to good or mediocre. They found that in every case, the separation happened because of ten thousand hours. All the great ones put in at least ten thousand hours of practice.
The author went on to compare other successful people, He talked about Bill Joy, the author of the current versions of Unix computer systems and Java, he is co-founder of Sun Microsystems and is sometimes called the Edison of the Internet. Yep, he spent ten thousand hours learning to program at night.
As long as we are talking about computer geeks . . . You guessed it, Bill Gates started programming in high school and stealing time on the computer. His mother said about those times, “we always wondered why it was so hard for him to get up in the morning.” Yeah, ten thousand hours.
Are you familiar with the early career of the Beatles? They played in strip clubs in Hamburg for eight hours a day. They were forced to develop a style and play songs they had never heard. They passed through the crucible and emerged as one of the most popular and entertaining bands in history. They found a style all their own, and learned the craft during more than ten thousand hours in Hamburg.
The interesting thing about the study, mentioned above, is they didn’t find any natural born anything. None of the great musicians rose to the top without putting in the practice. And to quote Gladwell, the people at the very top don’t work just harder, or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.
I’ve written about this before, although I didn’t go into detail. I think I’m getting close to my ten thousand hours, are you?
While listening to the lesson on Sunday, I wrote down the six steps to developing a talent. I customized the list for writers.
1. Discover your talent
2. Develop it (be willing to spend the time) ten thousand hours?
3. Have faith in yourself, and God.
4. Learn the skills. (Learn the craft. Go to workshops and conferences).
5. Practice consistently. (Again we go back to ten thousand hours.)
6. Share your talent with others.
It was mentioned that talent is a kind of stewardship. I believe our God will hold us accountable for those talents we neglect. If you were given a desire to write, then do it, but do it with the goal of touching hearts and changing lives. The old saying, you reap what you sew applies here. Many of you are well on your way to putting in your ten thousand hours. Some of you have reached it. Some are getting the hours while reaping the benefits of being published.
Putting in ten thousand hours will not guarantee a contract. It will guarantee you will be a great writer. There are countless famous souls who reached the top of their game, and every one of them have the same thing in common. Ten thousand hours.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.