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A tourist in New York city stops a cop on the street to ask for directions. “Excuse me, Officer. How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The wise, all knowing cop smiles and answers: “Practice, practice, practice.”

While that joke may be about as old as dirt and you knew the punchline in advance, it’s still true. If you want to get good at anything, you need to practice. A lot.

How much practice is enough? According to Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hours. For a writer? 1,000,000 words. That’s a lot of practice and, honestly, most people are just too lazy to put in the work.

I’m an above-mediocre guitar player. I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old. For those of you doing the math, that’s over 40 years of playing. When I would sit and practice for hours on end, I would get pretty good. When I slacked off or just noodled around, my playing was meh. I haven’t played much in the past 5 years because I’ve been working on my businesses and, well, something had to give. So my playing, right now, is not that great.

But I can still pick it up and strum along if you give me a chord sheet. I can play a pentatonic scale without even thinking about it. How? Thousand of hours of playing it has burned it into my brain. I can still call out a chord progression for most cheezy pop music by ear because I’ve spent countless hours playing I IV V progressions.

So what does this have to do with you and learning to write, you’re asking yourself?

You can get great at writing for your clients and your business

The catch is: you have to practice, practice, practice! Several of the bloggers in the 31 posts in 31 days challenge have noted how the requirement to write and publish every day results in a lack of quality in their writing. Well, duh, of course it does if you haven’t written those 1,000,000 words yet. One of the main points of the challenge was to get you 10,000 words closer in one month. Without the challenge of “Do it, no judgement, no excuses”, most of us would put it off because we weren’t good enough.

Fuck that! You won’t get good enough if you don’t do the work. 350 words a day = 10,000 words a month = 120,000 words a year. In 8 years you’ll have reached that 1 Million mark and be as good a writer as Ray Bradbury.

8 Years? That seems like an awfully long time!

Sure it is, but you’ll never get there if you don’t ever start. Want to shorten that 8 years to 3? Write 1,000 words a day. That’s 365,000 words a year and in under 3 years, you’ll have written ONE MILLION WORDS. After that much practice, a challenge like 31 posts in 31 days should be easy. You’ll be able to write quality content quickly. Even a year of writing that much should result in a big improvement in your writing.

Why bother learning to write? What does it have to do with massage?

The point of this is to not get good at writing for its own sake, but to get great at communicating ideas with an online audience. That audience is your current and potential client base. You need to be able to explain to them why massage matters, what it’s good for, why they should come to you, and what you can help them with. 

Any idiot can throw up a website and fill it full of meaningless drivel and industry jargon. No doubt you’ve seen loads of those websites. Don’t create one of those websites. Put in the practice, get better, and you will connect with people and get results.

Can you make a pledge to write everyday? I’m working with Dawn and Theresa on making the blog challenge into a community for business people to get better at blogging for their businesses. A safe place to work on learning to effectively communicate with the people that need your massage. We’ll have more details this week, so stay tuned.

6 Responses to Learning to write

  1. My biggest goal is turning those 10000 words into an actualy book (maybe not the 10K words I’ve just blogged in this 31/31 activity) but 10000 other words I’ve managed to string together along the way. Maybe you can write a blog about that for moi? Thanks for all your help and encouragement:-)

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983