It's simple, really.
But not easy to do.
No one is born a master at anything. There are no overnight successes despite what our culture worships and what you may have been suckered into believing. Every skill, every accomplishment requires effort and lots of it.
Having said that, here are the 3 steps to writing an amazing novel or, for that matter, doing anything else in life.
Buy books, take classes, watch YouTube videos, talk to people in the game. All of this is easy to do. You don't need a certificate proclaiming that, just because you passed a bunch of courses and gave an instructor what they wanted, you're now an expert. Learning has never been easier.
2. Get Feedback
Video games are so compelling because they give you instant feedback. Open that door, and a zombie eats your brains. Next time? Don't open that door. Listen to constructive criticism from coaches, teachers, clients, readers, other writers. I am saddened by the number of writers coming into my workshops who don't want to share their work "until it's perfect". So they never share a thing. And they cannot improve their craft. Getting feedback is easy. Ask!
3. Do steps 1 and 2 over and over again for 10,000 hours.
This is simple, but not easy. It requires commitment, effort, showing up every day, practice and more practice, learning new stuff, sharing new stuff, learning what readers like and what they don't. But 10,000 hours? Seriously?
There are no short cuts to becoming an expert.
If you happen to be born with a bit more innate talent than the rest of us, it may take only 5,000 hours. But you still need to put in the time and effort. A concert pianist gives up sports in order to put in the time. An athlete gives up watching TV and playing video games in order to workout and practice.
Malcolm Gladwell studied the experts, the upper echelon of achievers, and learned that most if not all put in at least 10,000 hours of hard work before they "made it". If it takes you 200 hours to write a novel, and another 200 hours to revise it, that's a total of 400 hours per novel.
Not even close to 10,000. And you expect your first book to be a best-seller? It won't be. The math tells us you'd have to write 25 novels before you become really good at it. If you expect or hope your first novel to be on the NYT best-seller list, you are, frankly and honestly, dreaming. Just know that everyone goes through this. There are no short cuts at all. If you really want to write an amazing novel, then get back to work and write.
Hi, I'm David. I write science fiction from a Christian worldview that promotes hope. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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