Road to Better Writer; Quality or Quantity?


I had this sudden urge to be a better writer, especially in English. I feel like my English skill just stopped after I finish my college in US. I use English often for my work, so at least I maintain certain level of fluency, but no growth.

My Chinese teacher once told me that Chinese is hard to start, but easy to master. English is, on the other hand, very hard to master, although it is easy to start. Chinese character seems really intimidating to most (except Japanese and Korean), but once you learn certain amount of them, you could be pretty fluent.

I used to believe that it is practically impossible to master English to Native level, unless you start your study early age. But then, I asked myself, what does it mean to be Native-like? I used to think if I can TALK like New Yorker, I can call myself fluent. Not True. English is global language. There are many different versions of it, and none of them are official. Now I think it is possible to be fluent with Japanese accent. Perhaps there exist beautiful English expression only made by Japanese native speaker. Fluency should mean clarity and persuasiveness in what you want to express.

So, finally, I am once again motivated to study more English. This time, especially writing.

I know there is only one way to achieve anything, which we are all familiar by now, thanks to Nike, that is by just doing it. Obviously that is why I am writing often these days (almost daily), but then one question hit me today.

Should I go for quality or quantity?

I could go on writing daily post, or do weekly posting after series of re-reading/editing.

Well, with my current English skill, weekly well-thought post may just look like spontaneous daily post, which could be really depressing. So meanwhile, I am going to try quantity thing..:)

There is 10,000 hour theory, thrown by Malcolm Gladwell in his best seller book “Outliners”, which states; it takes 10,000 hours to achieve greatness in any skills. Probably this also applies to language skill.

Say, if I write 1 hour a day, I will get 365 h/yr. In order to get 10,000 hours, I need roughly 27 years! I can’t wait that long.

If I want to achieve 10,000 hours in 5 years, I am going to need over… 5 hours a day! If I can invest 3 hours, 10 years…

One thing is certain;I have so many hours to serve. I guess I shouldn’t be worrying about method, but just doing it. Even if you eventually find it is not the real thing you are looking for your life, it’s better than doing nothing.

Now I know Steve Jobs is right. You got to find what you love. That is the only way to beat this 10,000 hours rule!