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Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking Your Time

Today, Starsongs is excited to welcome guest blogger Mary Kate Crockett.

Mary Kate Crockett, a homeschooled high schooler, has penned three novels and dozens of poems and short stories. She has published a few poems in the past and continues to submit to publishers as she improves her craft. Last semester, Mary Kate taught a writing class and loved helping others learn to enjoy writing. In her free time, Mary Kate travels, reads, and experiments with other arts and crafts. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family and occasionally blogs about her writing hobby.

In today’s hurried world, temptations to rush through projects often arise. Hurry through breakfast so you can get to school. Hurry through school so you can get to chores. Hurry through chores so you can get to dinner. Hurry through dinner so you can finally slow down and watch a little TV... right?
Whatever happened to do your best or practice makes perfect or finish what you started?

Even in writing, young authors often send their work to friends, family, and even publishers within minutes of writing those two little words The End. Guilty of this for quite some time, I could barely put down my pen before reading my work to any family member who would listen. Thankfully, I never submitted to a publisher until I was a little older and had been practicing my craft for several years. Even with a few publications under my belt, I still have a tremendous amount of writing and editing to do before I become an expert.

Researchers have found that most people who are experts in their job skill (sports, art, music, business, etc.) have accomplished around ten thousand hours of deliberate practice in their field – practice sessions where their goal was to become better. They weren’t born with some gift to be the “World’s Greatest ____”. They put in the hours of hard work and then reaped the reward of their labor. Check out this article to read more about this research. That’s quite a few hours! If I began calculating the hours I have spent in writing classes, practicing writing, editing essays and stories, and reading about writing, my total would probably come out to less than a thousand hours – I’m not even 10% of an expert! 

Humbly put, we’re probably all just a few hours away from being experts in the writing field. So, what’s the rush?

This doesn’t mean we can’t ever submit or share our work with others until we reach an X amount of numbers on a clock. Or that we have to throw out any piece of fiction we wrote before achieving a set amount of hours. But, it does mean we need to slow down when writing, take time to edit, and seek the advice of other writers before sending work off to be published. Writing, although fun, should be treated like any other profession. It takes time and hard work to be an expert.

We’re all learning, no matter where we are in our writing career. So keep an open mind, constantly try to improve your craft, and enjoy the journey.

Are you willing to put in the hours of deliberate practice to become the best author possible?

Leave a comment about Mary Kate’s post between now and August 31st to be entered in a drawing for a free download of the Summer 2012 issue of Starsongs magazine .


MaddieJ said...

I tend to want to rush through things, but my latest novel I did take a step back on, and took the time to completely edit it, and I really like it.

Aizess said...

Thanks for the giveaway!


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