Have You Done Your 10,000 Hours?

love revolution, amusement park, rollercoaster ride

Photo from Sodahead.com

Welcome to Techie Tuesday here at More Cowbell!

This is the day each week when I unleash my inner geek and we talk about some groovy piece of technology or a technical point of writing.

Yesterday was a rollercoaster day.

I went to my part-time day job where we just had some layoffs, and the mood was somber to say the least. At the same time, the Love Revolution cranked up to lightspeed over at Kristen Lamb’s site with the launch of WANA International.

I am SO excited about this launch! I’ve been keeping my mouth shut for months and I just want to giggle because what Kristen Lamb and Ingrid Schaffenburg have created for us artist-types goes beyond my wildest imaginings.

Kristen and Ingrid have made a welcoming home for anyone who’s an artist at heart.

So without further ado, I invite you to visit us all at www.wanaintl.com and join us in WANA Tribe (yes, I’ll be doing posts on how to rock WANA Tribe). I promise to blog more about this later in the week but for now, all you need to know is:

  • We’re having a big Twitter party on Friday (initial details here)! There will be prizes and balloons, and I’m hoping to sneak in a margarita machine.
  • I am teaching classes for WANA International, and they start next week. We’re kicking Week 1 off with a choice of a 1-hour webinar (Triberr 101 For the Creative ProfessionalOR a week-long coaching extravaganza (Demystifying Triberr) that includes the webinar plus a whole lot more. Also, we just applied a Kickoff discount to the webinar. I hope to see some of you there. 🙂

And do you know what was lurking at the edges of yesterday’s crazy highs and lows?

Fast Draft.

All of you who hang out here regularly know that a bunch of us are getting started with a program called Fast Draft this coming Thursday. For all of you that haven’t had the pleasure of Candy Havens’ class, I’m going to give you a few of the basic rules.

Note: You still want to take at least one of Candace’s classes – there’s a WHOLE LOT MORE. This is just to help those of you who are on the fence so you can decide if you’re gonna try this.

Fast Draft – Basic Rules

1. Prepare

Get your scene list in front of you, or your list of characters. Outline a little if you need to. Do what’s required for YOU to hit the page with some fervor. (Note: Candace recommends Jim Butcher’s method.)

2. Banish your internal editor

Kick that vicious bitch out of the building until the revision process starts. The End.

3. Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.

Yes, I know…panic. Oy, the agony! Ahhhhh, the pain. Whatever. All of you with that inner perfectionist, take heart. Here’s what Candace told me and I believe her:

It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something.

Ten. Thousand. Hours. That means if you wrote every second of every day for the next year, you still wouldn’t quite have become a master writer.

Do you know how freeing that is for me? People who are also not “Master Writers” are selling books every day, and being quite successful at it. It’s not about being the best of anyone out there. It’s about being the best writer that you can be TODAY. The more you write, the less crappy the next first draft will be.

Just. Do. It.

4. Tell your family you need two weeks to write your book.

This is the time when you arrange child care or trade sexual favors. Do whatever you need to in order to clear the decks for a few hours of writing each day. Kathy Owen has even sanded and caulked her tub in preparation for our Fast Draft this week.

5. Set aside a specific time each day to write and stick to it.

Candace calls this a gift you can give yourself, and a gift that you are giving your family. They’d rather see you just finish the dang WIP that’s driving you crazy, rather than lingering on for months or years.

The goal is 20 pages a day. My goal is to commit to the two hours and see what happens.

Which brings me to the last rule…

6. Believe in the magic to make it happen.

Candace quote: Your unconscious is a better writer than you are. Trust it.


  • The only excuse for not writing your pages is death or coma.
  • We write every day, at least one page.
  • We report our total every day, no matter what.
  • This is a team effort. Our team is to keep our spirits high as we show up at this new scary job each day.
  • When you feel crazy and crappy JUST KEEP WRITING!

What do you think? Are we riding the crazy train with all this Fast Draft business? How many hours do you think it takes to master something? Does anyone need help getting into WANA Tribe? Enquiring minds can’t WAIT to discuss all this grooviness here at More Cowbell!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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62 Responses to Have You Done Your 10,000 Hours?

  1. Hey Jenny… I really dig these basic rules… I am having trouble with the editing process.. I don’t know if I am overwhelmed, frightened or what.. but it is starting to tick me off. I will make it a point today to get on Triberr and search for the WANA Tribe. I can never access Triberr from home, so I have to get on in work. 😦
    Have a great day and thanks for another great Techie Tuesday post!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Two things, Darlene:

      WANA Tribe is a whole separate place than Triberr – just follow the link above.

      Candace Havens has another class called Revision Hell that teaches you how to edit an entire manuscript in 2 weeks. If you take her July class, she puts the two of them together in one month. 🙂


  2. I’m excited, because believe I’ve mastered crap, I have a double off-gray belt and a couple of not quite straight trophies at it :). I also have a drawer where sunlight refuses to go, just in cases my past work sees a glimmer of hope and tries to make a run for it!

    I’m also in for the the triberr class!


    Ps I’ll stop using exclamation points in my draft!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      This was the first comment I saw when I woke up and I laughed so hard. You always manage to crack me up, Nigel…thanks! And WOOT to having a friendly face in Triberr. 🙂


  3. S. J. Maylee says:

    So excited about the WANA Tribe!! Brilliant. Plan to spend some more time there today. Candace’s quote is awesome and something I plan to lean on 🙂 Thanks, Jenny!!!


  4. mliddle says:

    Jenny –
    TEN THOUSAND HOURS! That scares the sh** out of me. I know I am a big pictyre person, but it can be paralyzing sometimes. I am struggling to start my first page after my health hiatus. I start a challenge today, along with other stuff I have to do, and I have this constant fear that my health problems are looming! So, I have to not think about my health & focus on writing. I am hoping the challenge will help me put my butt in gear!

    I think the Fast Draft idea is great as long as it works for the person. I will send you “kick-butt writing” waves – but I have to keep some for myself, you understand! 🙂

    As I wrote to Kristen & other WANA people who played a part in creating the WANA tribe together, this is a huge blessing for me as a beginning writer. I feel honored to be a part of this. I look forward to getting to know many more writers through WANA!



    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Breathe, Monique. In…out…another deep breath. How are you doing? Better?

      It sounds to me like you need to focus on TODAY and what you want to write today. If 10,000 freaks you out, don’t think about it. At least that’s what I do with the stuff that gives me writing freak-out… 🙂


      • mliddle says:

        Jenny – Thanks for the breathing. As I read your reply and some of the other comments, I realize that I have been writing on and off for 12 years, and I am even 2nd author in published graduate textbook chapters. (I totally forget about those chapters because they seem like a lifetime ago.) It’s the fiction writing that I have minimal experience. That is what is giving me that hollow feeling in my chest. I know intellectually that things in the fiction department are just going to be crappy at first. Now, I need to believe & accept it.
        Thanks for asking about me. Today is my second day in a row where I feel good and am writing. Yeah! So, I am pleased about that. Maybe if I thought of my ailments as my family with 2 kids, then I would be even with other moms! That may just work. 🙂


  5. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, you are going to be a FAB instructor for WANA! Go, you! Thanks for all of your support of me and the rest of the WANAs.

    As weird as it sounds, taking care of the tub was huge – now I feel as if, with a clean tub, I can do anything, LOL. You should see the rest of my pre-Fast Draft to-do list, though. There’s still a lot on it. I’m not ready yet, but I will be!

    This is going to be interesting…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Having grouted and caulked an entire shower in my distant past, I can concur that it IS huge. Plus, it was a guaranteed big-gesture way to get Paul completely on board for your Fast Draft. 🙂


  6. Woot woot – you are going to ROCK the WANA Jenny! I totally can’t wait to sign up for one of your classes so I can LEARN how to be a fahhhbulous instructor!! 🙂
    I am super pumped!!
    LOVE rule number 6 – Believe in the magic to make it happen. And especially Candace quote: Your unconscious is a better writer than you are. Trust it.
    Wow – so true!!! I can’t WAIT to hear how you and the gang make out with First Draft…super excited!!!


  7. amyskennedy says:

    So many exciting things happening right this moment! Awesome that you’ll be teaching — you’re so good at it.

    Fast draft:
    1. scene list. done, still need to do some character work
    2. banish editor. done-ish. ongoing.
    3. permission to write crappy first draft. hah, that’s how I roll, baby.
    4. tell your family. not on your life — conspiracies and sabotagery (it’s a word) would abound.
    5. specific time each day. hmmm, this one might be difficult, but I’ll try.
    6. believe in the magic. I do believe in magic, I do, I do…

    My sights are set.


  8. emaginette says:

    Great post, full of good ideas.


  9. Julie Glover says:

    I read a great book called THE TALENT CODE that discussed the study of 10,000 hours to become an expert. The research showed that those who were considered masters in an field had put 10,000 hours or approximately 10 years into developing a skill. I definitely think I’m a better writer now than I was in my teens or 20s for that very reason. However, I haven’t logged my 10k hours in writing fiction! That’s a goal for me!

    Best wishes with Fast Draft! I really need to go look up Revision Hell from Candace Havens, since that’s where I’m at right now.


  10. Juliana Haygert says:

    I just signed up!
    Not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but I’ll try! Woot!


  11. webinar sounds exciting, Jenny but unfortunately I’m at work during the day. sighhh paying the mortgage interferes with my fun. enjoy


  12. Loved the 10,000 hours idea. Very freeing. See you at the #wanaparty Friday – i’ll be the one with the soda because two glasses of spiked punch and I’m giggling. 😛


  13. I’m very excited that WANA International has gone live. I’ll be cheering you on for your fast draft and telling everyone about your classes!

    Lisa – I’d pinch some of your pop, but I know you drink Coke so I guess I’d better bring my own Pepsi 😉


  14. Dawn says:

    First, I want to say how excited I am about the new WANATribe (although, admittedly, since I’m so new to all of this stuff, I don’t really think I know exactly why I’m sot excited….) Anyway, my writing buddy and I have recently begun our first draft, and this information is so great for us to keep in mind! Can’t wait to share it with her, as well! Thanks again, Jenny – you always seem to know just what to post right when I need it 🙂


  15. I’m fast drafting right now, and I love this post! Not sure what WANA International is, so I’ll have to check it out.


  16. Yo, yo, yo got the scene list up in Scrivener, got all sorts of characters talking in my head, my scheduled block of writing time is in 24 minutes and counting. See you in the Fast Draft Pals and on the deck of tweet. And I would add that your subconscious has already written the story and it’s just waiting for your conscious brain to catch on. Let the words and the good times roll, Jenny-Poo!


  17. Callene Rapp says:

    I’m looking forward to another Fast Draft! I got shanghaied by life after the last one and am ready to kick it up a notch again. Thanks for including us!


  18. Wow, Fast Draft really sounds like a blast. That’s kind of what I do everyday anyway, so I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines!

    Great info for WANA International! That’s so cool that it’s live now. Congrats on your teaching gig. This is a darn exciting time for all of us artists.


  19. Sherry Isaac says:

    Cheering y’all on, but bowing out. This round.


  20. Congrats to all for the launch and very relevant classes on the WANA site. All very enticing. I see you’re doing OneNote, Jenny. Thanks to your blog about OneNote recently I’m into it now and it’s totally fab. I’m so thankful to you.

    Must pass on the Fast Draft as I’m chugging along, editing my WIP, but will check out the Revision Hell.


  21. Thanks for the blog love Jenny!! We are so excited to have you on our team. Yay!
    “Winners”! 😉
    And great reminders about Candace’s class. Yikes! I better get my ducks in a row tomorrow!


  22. Karen McFarland says:

    Jenny, I received your email, but for some reason it’s gone. Poooffff! So I don’t know when this is starting, nor do I have any information to connect on the yahoo loop. Err. Say what? I know. So sorry to be a pain in the butt! Can you send that over again? I thought I’d try, although I don’t know how ready I am to blast this thing out. Yikes! Thanks! 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I just resent it to your ymail and website addresses. You should get it from at least one. We start Thursday, and we’re all just doing our best and supporting our team. Am I scared? Yes! Am I doing this? Yes!


  23. corajramos says:

    It just keeps getting better and better at Wana. Woohoo!


  24. The fast draft sounds really crazy 😀 Double the amount you’d do for NaNo, I think. But with the right determination and preparation it’s doable. And any progress is taking you in the right direction. Good luck. And congrats on becoming a WANA instructor. July/August evening Triberr classes sound perfect for me.


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  26. Fast draft was amazing. Just spit whatever words on paper and you’re done. The quality, though, is another, story. 🙂


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