I recently finished the first chapter of Bounce, and found the content surprisingly similar to material I’ve read from Talent is overrated by Geoff Calvin, Mindset by Carol Dweck and a chapter from Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw entitled The Talent myth (I didn’t read outliers), and it seems to be the same ol’ vertabim if you want to get better at something, practice it a lot.
I personally haven’t read Outliers, but in it Gladwell expounds the virtue of practice and even creates a new 10,000 hour theory. The theory implies that with the right amount of practice anyone can achieve excellence in their fields. It even goes as far as saying that with the right amount of practice that excellence can never be denied to you, In essence guaranteeing that you will be great so long as you put in 10,000 hours of practice into your subject.
Why 10,000. The theory actually stems from 10 years of practice, but the practicality of it is that you can only consistently spend 1,000 hours every year practicing. Spend more than 1,000 and you’re likely to fizzle out. Upon reading this, I did a little calculation in my head. If I worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, that’s just 40 hours a week. A year has 52 weeks, and that means roughly 2000 working hours. Practically that amounts to 1700-1800 hours (minus holidays and leave). Which means to be an ‘expert’ in any field requires about 60% of your working hours on practicing your ‘art’ or your area of expertise and that’s time a lot of people don’t have. Or is it?
It’s actually time a lot of people won’t sacrifice to be great, considering you need to consistently spend that time over a period of 10 years to really reach excellence, a lot of people just can’t take the strain, and quite frankly neither can I. However, it doesn’t mean I won’t try.
What does this have to do with Blogging?
One of the first things people tell you when you start a blog is to blog often, and quite often I don’t blog. I try to post up on this blog about 2-3 times a week and so far I’ve manage to do that …barely. On some weeks (like last week), I was under a huge amount of pressure to deliver at work, and one of the first items that gets struck of my list is blogging. Which is understandable, blogging is really just a hobby and hobbies are usually the first things to go when I’m pressed for time.
That’s fine, if I intend to keep it as just a weekend hobby, but I don’t. I plan to get better at blogging, and the only way to really get better at blogging is to practice. It’s the reason why bloggers ask that you blog everyday.
My previous blog hosted on blogger was nearly 7 years old before I pulled the plug on it, it average less than 3 hits/day and was a horrendous failure, yet without it I wouldn’t have honed my writing skills (if you think it’s bad now, wait till you see what it was when I started blogging). More importantly, my blog wasn’t going anywhere precisely because I didn’t practice, in total I posted less than 200 post in a 7 year period.
If you write a post every day for just one year, you’d have written more than I would have the entire 7 years, you’d have more visitors than me, a higher page rank and more content to distribute and share, and you’d have a whole lot more practice than me, and you’d possibly be a better blogger than me.
My 30 Day Challenge
There’s a lot of reasons why people blog everyday (or advise you to do it), partly is to keep adding content and to keep readers engage. To me, I think the real reason you should blog everyday is to get the practice of writing, so I’m setting myself a challenge. For the next 30 days I will write a post every single day….I should be done right before Christmas which gives me a nice long Christmas vacation.
To help my target, I’ve decided to narrow the focus on the blog. Technology is just too generic a category to be lumped in. I need to focus in on some specific topics. For now, I’m focusing on just 3 things, Blogging, Crowdsourcing and Cloud Computing, and for the next 30 days all my post will talk about anyone of these topics, but they will be only from these topics.
Wish me luck!!
//picture courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/eliazar/407591133/sizes/m/in/photostream/