10,000 hours more or less

I’ve been trying to figure out if I’ve spent 10,000 hours writing.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he examines the factors that contribute  to an unusually high rate of success. He makes several mentions of the 10,000 hour rule.  Essentially, the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

Since I’ve already admitted that I have this silly goal of writing and becoming rich and famous just because I’m awesome, I’ll go ahead and admit the rest.

I’d love to experience an “unusually high rate of success” as a writer.

(It’s ok to laugh, I almost put that last part in my sarcastic font.)

10000 hours

On the other hand, it never hurts to have big goals.

If there’s even a remote chance that writing for 10,000 hours would actually make me have an “unusually hight rate of success” then I’d like to hurry up and get all those hours in. I could use the cash.

Just how far into 10,000 hours am I?

I figure I’ve spent a LOT of hours writing.  At least, it normally felt that way in Ms Goodson’s 8th grade history class when she insisted that we take her notes word for word.

But… I don’t think simply moving a pencil or pen across the page counts as writing.

I should probably only count the time I’ve spent writing content, not the hours I’ve spent writing grocery lists, meeting minutes, apology letters to teachers, my birth plan, term papers, or five paragraph essays.

That leaves…

bad poetry

angst ridden teen age journal entries

all the emails I exchanged when I was single and on a dating website

several thousand posts on various discussion boards

blog posts

some abandoned short stories

more bad poetry

the drafts form of a half dozen ebooks

drafts of blog posts

some rather long winded Facebook comments

more blog posts

my prayer journal

some letters to my kids

That’s a lot of words.

I’ll spare you the details on my calculations, but my best guess is that I’ve spent about 3,500 hours writing since becoming a mom and another 1,500 hours prior to that.

That means I’m halfway there.


5,000 down 5,000 to go.

If I write steadily for an hour a day, it would take another 13.5 years before I reach that magic 10,000 hour number.

(I did the calculations twice, just to make sure. I was bummed out.)

If I write for an extra 30 minutes a day, it would only take a little over 9 more years.

(That didn’t exactly help. I need a new couch folks. I’m talking instant gratification.)

If I wrote for 8 hours a day 5 days a week, I’d get there in 2.5 years.

Unlikely, but interesting.

5,000 hours is a lot of hours.

Realistically, my kids will be in college before I manage to rack up that many hours of writing.  At that point, we’ll probably be planning our retirement, not launching my fabulous career as a writer with an “unusually hight rate of success.”

Knowing that, I have to admit it’s unlikely that I’ll ever become rich or famous just for being me. Even if I am fabulous and amazing and awesome.  That’s kind of a downer, but it also takes a lot of pressure off of me. I have no clue what I would have worn to any of those late night talk show interviews.

just write

I still wrote today.

I didn’t do it because I wanted to be at 5,001 hours. I didn’t do it in an absurd quest to become rich or famous (although I’d take a few extra bucks in the bank). 

I did it for the love of writing.

Get social:
Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

Latest posts by Susan Baker (see all)


  1. Another way to look at it is that you’ve written for over 30,000 minutes. I’m just sayin’…
    Mo recently posted..The Three Best Things You Can Do For Your ChildrenMy Profile

    • true!

      Actually, my husband and I were talking about this last night. He observed that being a good writer requires continual exposure to the quality writings of others. He estimates that I probably put in a good 5,000 hours of reading since the kids were born. So… BOOM! I’m at 10,000 hours and ready to be famous. 🙂
      Susan Baker recently posted..#write31days and a crazy love for word playMy Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.
%d bloggers like this: