Friday, June 19, 2009

The Matron Does the Math

Remember the Matronly quest for success?

Attempting to climb that mountain, she's reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success.

From page 39:

"The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours."

According to Gladwell, from Bill Gates to Yo-Yo Ma, that's ten thousand hours of programming, practicing. . . . . writing?

Let's see. This is her 704th post. She mostly limits herself to half an hour per post, so that's about 352 hours of blogging since September 2007.

Wow. That's 352 hours she was mostly alone with a laptop. Not bad!

Now, there's her dissertation, weighing in (minus the bibliography) at 217 pages. Writing a good page ususally takes her about one hour. Let's add another hour for revision, bringing her another 434 hours of prose.

Using the same formula with the novels (274 pages and 334 pages), pile on 1216. Then she's going to just round up because she knows the two took more than two hours per page. Let's settle on 1250.

1250 + 434 + 352 = 2036

The Matron is pretty sure she logged a high number of hours pre-novel and dissertation, too. Let's stretch the possibilities and just double that number to 4072.

Nowhere near 10,000. Yet.

But if Gadwell is onto something, this might explain the observation that a very good literary agent once made to the Matron: for some reason, writers come to their own in their 40's.

Maybe they've finally logged enough hours at their craft

Just under 6000 hours to go for the Matron. Finally! A reason to spend more time BLOGGING!!


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

If the Matron does not publish her novel or isn't given tenure as a math professor, she should go to law school.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Thanks - I needed that rationalization.

smalltownme said...

Good math, Matron. Keep on writing!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That explains a lot.

Irene said...

You just need to write longer blogs and spend more time on them. Stretch them to an hour a day. It adds up. I hope you're not forty yet.

Anonymous said...

Oh, good! That means I can look forward to many more years of reading The Matron's blog posts. Thanks!