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Hello writing friend 👋

This week we consider how long it takes to get 'good' at writing.

I'm not going to sugar coat it - there are no shortcuts. However, research shows that we can learn and improve new skills at any age.

As the much-quoted Chinese proverb says: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Find out what's involved in getting good with this low-down on deliberate practice and the 10,000 hours rule.

Read the blog: How long does it take to become a good writer? Deliberate practice for writing

Keep going  ❤️ Bec 

🚀  Want some writing rocket boosters?

We've just waved the finishing flag on another successful writing sprint - this time 68 writers took part and 90% met their writing goals in full or in part.

If you'd like to nudge your writing forward and learn some tactics that will help you keep going, you can learn more and sign up to sprint for free here

📚 What we're reading... 

“Some people hear the rule ‘Write every day’ and do it and don’t improve. They are just being dutiful. That is the way of the goody-two-shoes. It is a waste of energy because it is a tremendous effort to just follow the rules if your heart isn’t into it. If you find that this is your basic attitude, then stop writing.”

There are a few books on writing that are recommended time and time again. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is one of them.

First published in 1986 it is full of timeless advice to writers (well, aside from her opinions on typewriters and LSD). A pep talk that tells you can write, it's packed full of wisdom on how to do it.

📝 How do you respond to expectations?

We're huge fans of Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies concept - the idea that people respond to expectations differently. She thinks there are two types:
  • Outer expectation – expectations others place on us like meeting a deadline someone else has set.
  • Inner expectation – expectations we place on ourselves like keeping to a deadline because it's important to us. 
How you respond to expectation helps you understand your tendency:

😇 Upholders respond to inner and outer expectations. They meet the expectations that others place on them and the expectations they place on themselves. They tend to be busy as they rush around trying to do things for themselves and for others. 

😘 Obligers respond primarily to external expectations. As people pleasers, they struggle to meet their own goals (like writing a book) unless it's for someone else. Accountability groups work well for obligers. 

🤔 Questioners respond primarily to internal expectations. They only do something if it makes sense to them. They don't need to be chivvied along but they are prone to can overthinking things and getting stuck in the weeds. 

😎 Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations. A rebel’s instinct would be: why do we need a deadline at all? Let’s do something different… Rebels are creative thinkers but their natural tendency can be self destructive. 

None of these tendencies are 'good' or 'bad'. There are pros and cons to each. Rubin's idea is that by understanding your tendency you're better placed to design support structures around yourself that will help. Have a go and take the quiz!

🐻 The world according to Austin Kleon...

😍 3 things we love 

#1. Gritty or quitty? Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines gritty people as those who have shown perseverance and passion for something over long periods of time. In this fab episode of Freakonomics, she talks to economist Steve Levitt about how to find your inner grit. Go to the podcast.

#2. Hey there busy bee: Find out your personal productivity style in this quiz courtesy of the Harvard Business Review. Take the quiz. 

#3. The rhythm is gonna get you: Eric Barker delves deep into the power of circadian rhythms to help you find a pattern that suits you and your life. Read the article

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🤷 Reading this for the first time?

The Wednesday Workout is an email newsletter from writing productivity coaches Bec Evans and Chris Smith, co-founders of Prolifiko.

Subscribe to get fortnightly coaching tips and advice and news of our latest coaching plans and courses. When you do we'll send you a free coaching plan The Distracted Writer's Guide to Finding FocusFind out more about Prolifiko.

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