I know, I know. You're probably like, "Ugh, really?" Yeah, really.
You may or may not have heard of this whole it-takes-10,000-hours-of-practice-to-become-a-master thing.
I've heard of it. (There's an article here.)
I haven't spent 10,000 hours writing in the past three years. Therefore, I still have many things to learn. I have, however, spent a lot of time practicing.
In writing, though, I think it's more about how many words/novels you've written, than actual hours in front of the computer. I mean, let's face it, twitter and Facebook can hardly be counted as "practice."
So I decided to open up all my old manuscripts and add up the words I've written. This is in no way a formula to say that if you write this many words, you'll be a master. As I said, I still have much to learn.
But I have written 1,024,766 words. (And with titles like ELITE (I totally forgot about that one), PLACEHOLDERS, and PASSIVE ACCELERATION you know these are real winners, people. *lol*)
(And holy brown cow aside: That's over a million words. And it's no wonder. I opened my "working drafts" folder where I've saved everything I've ever written. There's a lot in there. Short stories (4). Complete novels (13). Incomplete novels (6). Not to mention the query letters, synops, etc. (which I didn't count) Dude. Yeah, that's all. Dude.)
I do think that with each book you write, you become a better storyteller. You learn where to place things. You get a "feel" for how you write, how you storytell, how you can craft a novel from words into meaning.
So you have to keep writing. Even if you don't finish the books (I have six I've started and never finished. They need so much work to even make them finishable, that I just quit. Am I a quitter? Absolutely.), even if they don't get published, they're still beneficial.
I believe this will every fiber of my being. Tiger Woods doesn't look back and go, "Man, I wasted a whole bunch of time practicing my putting."
We shouldn't think of our practice novels as wasted time either. They're practice. And we need 10,000 hours of practice before we're truly masters.
Guess I better get back to it. I have about 64,000 more hours to go...
Have you ever felt like your practice novels were a waste of time? How many hours have you practiced your writing? How many words have you written?
Also, go check out this new blog called "Dear Teen Me." I was lucky enough to be invited to participate, and I can't wait to read all the awesome from authors as they write letters to their teen selves.