Longer than you thought

Thought you’d write and make a living from it? Sure it would take a year or two but you have resigned yourself to that fact.

I always knew that a novel would not come overnight but I did not realise how long it really takes. I have read somewhere that the pros can churn out the latest Mills & Boons in a few weeks and other novels in a few months or a best-seller in a year.

What I am amazed with is how long it has taken me just to get used to the basics and the process of writing. I am not sure that I am even USED to it yet.

It’s amazing how long it takes to sketch up a viable map for a fantasy world or build a historic event that you are unlikely to include in the book but which is critical to understand the why and how of the present. Maybe I am stupid (entirely possible) or took out too much time to play Diablo3 (argh don’t get me started on that horrid disappointment) but its taken far longer than I thought it would.

I suppose there is something to the 10 000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell explains in Outliers (great book), to become an expert in anything you have to put in the hours. 10k of them. Roughly 10 years (or about 6 years if you do it 8x5x52).  Based on my previous career attempts (graphic designer, web developer, IT engineer/manager, Voip engineer, product developer), I agree with the theory, I just hope to hell that I can achieve some measure of success before I get to my 10k.

I started actively writing about a year ago and I had hopes of having 120k words of decent edited prose (i.e. a novel) completed by now. Obviously that has not happened, but I have learnt an incredible amount about the craft and myself – it’s why I do not consider this year a complete waste.

And unlike most things I have done over the course of my life, I have enjoyed every crazy minute of it.

Lanceolot

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