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Become an outstanding writer Editor's Notes #116
February 15, 2012

A good athlete always mentally replays a competition over and over,
even in victory,
to see what might be done to improve the performance the next time.

--Frank Shorter

In this issue:

1. The key to becoming an outlier
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. The key to becoming an outlier
In statistics, an outlier is a piece of data numerically distant from the rest. If you want success as a writer, you have to be an outlier. Your writing has to stand out from the mass of writing sliding by the eyes of the reading public.

Can you do it? With a little seed of native talent and by following two basic practices about practice, you can.

Andres Ericsson studied the best twenty-year-old violinists chosen by conservatory teachers. Let's assume that no one in this group was tone deaf (the little seed of native talent bit). Ericsson found that what set them apart from others was practice: 10,000 hours of practice. That's 1250 eight-hour days of practice, almost three-and-a-half years with no weekends off by the time they were twenty years old.

Malcolm Gladwell incorporated this study in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success where he shares the results of his investigation of what makes a person stand out from the crowd in any field. He determined that "practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."

Is your writing practice making you an outlier? First of all, are you writing consistently? Lately I've been reading several books about succeeding as a writer. So far, everyone agrees that writing has to happen daily. Gladwell would agree. In any field, daily attention to improvement takes centre stage. And although a few writing advisors will let you off with ten or fifteen minutes per day, more would say that to really make a difference, you need an hour or more of writing practice per day

To really improve, though, you need a specific kind of practice. You need "deliberate practice." Instead of just doing something over and over, do it better and better. Try to make your writing better every time you sit down to write.

If you don't know how to make your writing better, read about how to become a better writer, meet with other writers who critique each other's writing, hire someone who will help you to reach the next level. Take every suggestion and apply it to your own writing, finding your way away from the crowd and into the stratosphere of the truly good writers, those writers other people talk about with enthusiasm.

Until February 29, 2012, I'm offering a one-time critique of up to 2000 words for US$20. To participate, reply to this e-mail and attach a Word document of up to 2000 words. I will send you a PayPal invoice for US$20. Ater you pay, I will return advice on ways you can improve your writing.


2.Tickled my funnybone
 Glibido : All talk and no action. 


3. Interesting Web site
One writer blogs about the process of writing and other items of interest to those starting out.


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