I read this post which talks about how you have to do a lot of work to get good at something. It seems pretty obvious, though for someone just starting something, whether drawing or composing music or writing, it can be frustrating at first. You have to create a lot of terrible stuff before you start getting good. Before I became the most amazing brilliant composer the world has ever known (what? don’t you agree?), I wrote pieces such as The Toy and The Workshop. Not exactly the most thrilling pieces of music ever written. (And, of course, I’ve still got plenty more to learn about composing.)
Also, I don’t think that just doing something over and over will alone help you get much better. You must also have in your mind something you’re trying to achieve, some skill you’re purposefully working for and know you don’t have yet. You could doodle scribbles all day, but that won’t help you draw like Rembrandt; you must consciously pursue drawing what you know can not yet draw.
I can easily imagine meeting a person who says “oh man, I’ve been drawing for 10 years!” or “writing for several decades!” or “composing almost my entire life!” and their work still seems terrible to me. Of course, when it comes to art, it’s also a matter of taste, but merely putting in the time with no effort to get better is worthless. (And I can also easily imagine people just plain lying about how long they’ve spent doing something.)
Anyway, the post mentions working 10,000 hours to get good at something. That’s a lot of hours. I’m not sure how many hours I’ve spent composing. Maybe an average of 12 hours per piece (some more, some less) for 51 pieces. 51 * 12 = 612 hours. That’s about 6 percent of 10,000 hours. I got a long way to go.
But that’s just a very rough estimate. I haven’t been keeping track of how many hours it takes me to do anything. So I started a new project called The Hours Project. You’ll see a new link to it on the side of this blog. Basically the goal of the project is to keep track of how long I spend doing stuff. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep it up forever, though, but I think it would be really interesting if I could keep it up for at least a year. I’m guessing sleep and work will take up the most of my time. I’m also not keeping track of how long I spend chatting online, surfing the web, or blogging… or other random stuff.
This is also partially inspired by the game The Sims 3… but you’ll have to play it to realize why, because I don’t feel like explaining…