Malcolm Gladwells suggestion that it takes ten thousand hours before you’ve mastered something has been discussed, shat upon and praised – which is a testament to how good Gladwell is at getting attention, if not to the value of what he’s saying – but it seems a trivial thing; if you do something conscientiously for a longish time you’ll get better at it.
When I was a kid I was so sure of my literary merits that when I began writing a Stephen King style novel I started with the acknowledgement page. Then I gave up on the novel twenty pages in, because – obviously – I found out that writing can be a slog, requiring revisions and research and thought and knowledge that I only pretended to possess. With time I left messy piles of chewed sour grapes on the floor, and moved on to ambitions which were more directly rewarding.
With that preamble out of the way, hopefully properly presenting myself as a chastised adult with realistic expectations, etc etc, here’s a short announcement that I’ve signed up on a course of “creative writing” at Umeå University, and it’s bloody terrifying. I’ve become so used to being the teacher – or collegue – discussing the texts of others, that I’m really uncomfortable for putting my own writing – nay, the draft of my typing – on display for group discussion. This will be an interesting experience. We will be writing poetry, for goodness sake, and I can already hear the avoidance cogs of my mind shuffle into gear – “I’ll do a cut-up experiment” or “let’s paraphrase a famous poem” – anything but something which might bruise my fragile ego…
I have a clear goal with the powerlifting I’m doing. I’m hoping to deadlift 200kg at some point, and with the wind at my back and a nosebleed I might be able to do 155kg right now. But that’s Ok, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, I just want to reach that round number, and in the meantime I’m training (sometimes just exercising) because it feels good. But what are the criteria for succeeding with my writing? How do you weight 200kg in writing, and who will judge whether the lift was well executed?