There's a lot of debate surrounding how long it takes to learn to write effectively.
Some people say that it takes 10,000 hours. This number comes from Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success. And others believe that the amount of time you spend practicing is more important than the number of hours. Maybe this is true if you want to become a pro golfer, but does this argument hold true for writers?
The answer is no, and I'm here to call 'BS' on all this.
Here are the 5 main points you need to know:
Writing is simply an expression of thoughts put into words
Don't overcomplicate or overthink this point.
Like literally the things that emerge from your noggin', let them flow through to your pen or your fingertips. There is no right or wrong way to express yourself with words, and that's part of the beauty of being a writer.
So don't allow a lack of knowledge, experience, training, or anything else stop you.
Let it go. Let it flow.
To write well, practice is critical — the more you write and refine your work, the better you will become
Practice is just an active way to say consistency.
Be consistent not only with the amount of time you spend writing but also with your practice and the feedback you receive from others. It's through doing these things, over and over again, that you build your writer's muscle.
And the truth is that it's the same muscle that the best writers have flexed. So when it's time to put your work out there, the 10K hours will have already been done.
Start small — don't try to produce a masterpiece on your first attempt
Baby steps are not only critical to, well, a baby but also to the budding writer.
The critical part here, though, is taking that first step. Even if you do not feel confident in your work, just do it and grow from there. You've got to be OK, knowing that your first words and pieces will likely be bad. And that's not just OK; it's to be expected.
Read often — Reading provides excellent examples of how to write, and it can also give you more ideas for topics to write about
It takes more than pounding out words to sharpen your skills.
You must also be an avid consumer of OPW. Other people's words. You have to be a reader, in other words. And not just a reader in your genre or lane but absorbing all kinds of different works.
By doing this, you open your mind to new ideas, techniques, and ways of expressing yourself.
Get help from a mentor
This is arguably the most crucial part of all.
Call it a mentor, a coach, an advisor, or whatever, but having someone who is at the place you want to be is a massive boost for you as a new writer. This could be in the form of a class or a one-on-one session with a professional, but having an experienced guide to point you in the right direction is invaluable.
The final word
Writing isn't as complicated or intimidating as it may seem.
By following these five simple steps, you can start your journey to becoming a better writer in no time. Start by expressing your thoughts with words and practice consistently for improved results. Don't be afraid of starting small; read often and seek help from an experienced mentor when needed. With enough dedication and hard work, you will soon see the 10K hours come together into something beautiful that is yours alone.