For those of you who haven’t heard of the 10,000 Hour Rule, it states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill, any skill.
That means that it would take 10 years of practicing a skill 3 hours a day, or 5 years of practicing it 6 hours a day, to become proficient.
While I am not convinced that becoming proficient really requires 10,000 hours, the premise behind the rule certainly makes a lot of sense. in that it suffices that the more time we spend doing something (ie: practicing it), it stands to reason that we will become more adept at that particular skill.
Writing is no exception. The more I write, and study the craft of writing, the more comfortable I become doing it,and the easier it is to access my skills and knowledge, generate new and unique ideas, and produce better results. I find that now I have a much better idea of how to plot out and develop ideas and characters, and how to produce a much stronger written narrative than when I first began writing.
As time goes by, I can see continuous progress and I am fairly certain that as I continue to write and learn about the craft of writing, I will continue to grow and become better . I believe that no matter how much expertise you have in something, there is always something you can learn and the state of developing your own unique voice, and becoming proficient in your chosen genre is being willing to continually be in that state of acquisition of knowledge and skills., and continuing to practice what you learn.
Perhaps the real reason the 10,000 hour rule seems to have such validity is that only people who are genuinely passionate about something and committed to it will put in the time and effort required to become proficient, and I think that this makes the difference whether someone becomes simply proficient or actually masters a skill.
So it seems to me that having a desire to do something, combined with practicing that skill to increase your proficiency, certainly seems to be the winning combination.
I know for instance that I will never be a mathematician. Why? Because I absolutely hate, hate, HATE, math! It is something that I always struggled with, and never performed particularly well in. To be honest, I really don’t think that even with 20,000 hours of practice (not that I could ever force myself to contribute 20,000 hours of my time to such a boring and unrewarding endeavor), that I would ever be proficient enough at math to call myself an expert. I may be wrong on that, but I doubt it!
So, I guess I would have to say that the real key to becoming a master at anything is a combination of talent, passion, and practice.