Repetition and Reflection

Barbara Baig has taught writing for over twenty-five years and is the author of How To Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play (Writer’s Digest Books). She offers free practice-based lessons for beginning and struggling writers at www.wherewriterslearn.com.
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-blog-post-how-deliberate-practice.html
In study after study, researchers have found no evidence for innate talent as the prerequisite for success. Nor have they found that hard work alone makes certain people great. While successful people—those who achieve excellence in a domain—do work very hard, it’s how they work that distinguishes them from others. It turns out that just putting in hours and hours at your chosen work is not enough; the only way to get better is to make sure you’re devoting those hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.”
… When most people practice, they repeat things they already know how to do. But when those who become experts in their field engage in practice, they spend most of their time doing things they don’t already know how to do. They are constantly challenging themselves to improve, to do things better, to gain additional skills. Deliberate practice isn’t just hacking around; it’s hard work, which demands reaching for objectives that are always just out of reach. The only way to attain those objectives is through immense amounts of repetition. Ted Williams, the great Red Sox hitter, used to take swing after practice swing until his hands bled. Larry Bird, the legendary basketball player, got up at 6 a.m. every morning in high school, went to the gym, and shot 500 free throws.
To get the most benefit from practice, keep these two principles in mind: repetition and reflection. Repetition—lots of it—is required to make skills automatic, so that when you sit down to write your novel, they are ready to work for you. Reflection—what did I learn today? what do I need to learn next?—keeps you on track in your pursuit of excellence.
If all this sounds like a lot of work—well, it is, just as becoming a professional athlete or musician is a lot of work. But if you love to write—love it as much as Ted Williams loved to hit or Larry Bird loves to play basketball—then practice is a kind of dedicated play, a source of pleasure and fulfillment. And if you are willing to shift your focus from getting published to becoming an excellent writer, then there’s a very good chance that, eventually, your skills will take you to the “big leagues” of the writing world.
Recommended Reading:
Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everyone Else
Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
David Shenk, The Genius Myth

05-baig-325I am always looking for interesting articles to pass a long.  I found this one at Writer Beware.  Writer Beware is a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America.  It shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and writing pitfalls.

This article definitely echoes the fundamental principles taught in The One Hour Screenwriter eCourse.

… In study after study, researchers have found no evidence for innate talent as the prerequisite for success. Nor have they found that hard work alone makes certain people great. While successful people— those who achieve excellence in a domain— do work very hard, it’s how they work that distinguishes them from others. It turns out that just putting in hours and hours at your chosen work is not enough; the only way to get better is to make sure you’re devoting those hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.”

… When most people practice, they repeat things they already know how to do. But when those who become experts in their field engage in practice, they spend most of their time doing things they don’t already know how to do. They are constantly challenging themselves to improve, to do things better, to gain additional skills. Deliberate practice isn’t just hacking around; it’s hard work, which demands reaching for objectives that are always just out of reach. The only way to attain those objectives is through immense amounts of repetition. Ted Williams, the great Red Sox hitter, used to take swing after practice swing until his hands bled. Larry Bird, the legendary basketball player, got up at 6 a.m. every morning in high school, went to the gym, and shot 500 free throws.

… To get the most benefit from practice, keep these two principles in mind: repetition and reflection. Repetition— lots of it— is required to make skills automatic, so that when you sit down to write your novel (or screenplay), they are ready to work for you. Reflection—what did I learn today? What do I need to learn next?—keeps you on track in your pursuit of excellence.

If all this sounds like a lot of work— well, it is, just as becoming a professional athlete or musician is a lot of work. But if you love to write— love it as much as Ted Williams loved to hit or Larry Bird loves to play basketball— then practice is a kind of dedicated play, a source of pleasure and fulfillment. And if you are willing to shift your focus from getting published (or produced) to becoming an excellent writer, then there’s a very good chance that, eventually, your skills will take you to the “big leagues” of the writing world.

Recommended Reading:

Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everyone Else

Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

David Shenk, The Genius Myth

You can read the full article here– http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-blog-post-how-deliberate-practice.html

Barbara Baig has taught writing for over twenty-five years and is the author of How To Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play (Writer’s Digest Books). She offers free practice-based lessons for beginning and struggling writers at www.wherewriterslearn.com.

Add comment