Tag Archives: Malcolm Gladwell

ten thousand hours

I started writing a post about writing and how long it might take for a writer (or anyone else, really) before their writing would be critiqued by anyone other than the writer. I wrote the phrase ‘thousands of hours’ and immediately thought of Malcolm Gladwell. Zach had an infatuation with Gladwell at one time and actually introduced him to me while he was at Xavier.

Gladwell famously posited in his book The Outliers that ‘the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.’ The quote is from the Wikipedia article so it may not be completely precise, but it makes my point.

Searching ‘Gladwell’ in my folder of Zach’s journals gets 11 hits. In one of the earliest, he reflects on the 10,000 hour concept which leads into a discussion of another article which leads into his own goals and how he could direct his own learning and development. He says, ‘ . . . one of the great things that I always am trying to improve is my deliberate approach to my own growth . . .’ This was in December 2011, six months after he started working at UREC.

Zach points out that the Gladwell concept was focused more on motor activity but my thought was that it could also apply to writing. Specifically, my own writing, here in this blog. I’m putting in the time, writing something, just to write, in the hopes that eventually I’ll get a result that is more worthwhile. I admit that I’ve become obsessed with the fact that very few readers of this blog are commenting here. I have gotten some nice comments via email and in person but those are somehow not the same. I have to admit that of the probably thousands of books I’ve read, I’ve only sent feedback to the author a handful of times. (Of course this all begs the question as to what is ‘worthwhile’. The act of writing is itself worthwhile to me but I also would like my thoughts to have value for others.)

Early on, the posts seemed to flow from my fingers. Lately they haven’t and it bothers me. I’ll keep trying. Thank you, dear reader, for coming here and getting this far.