Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deep Breaths

Better now.  I spent the day brooding but eventually got to the root of the problem.  I blame The Book.

I should have seen this coming; when I held the finished product in my hand and realized that, yeah, it looked good and the content was well formatted and, overall, it was a satisfying and professional-looking job, I allowed myself a mental pat on the back.

In a normal person, this might incentivize them to move forward with the same cautious determination and thoroughness that had brought them to that point; in me, however, it inspires the unrealistic notion that I can do anything.  So I’m immediately off in six different directions trying to get everything done at once and annoyed with myself when I don’t see results within 24 hours.

Focus: that’s my problem.  I was trying to become an Uber-Twitter, and a Facebook whizz and while working on my next book and handling marketing for the current book all at the same time.

So I burned myself out, spent a day sulking and now I’m back in the saddle.

Twitter and Facebook still elude me, however, and I am savagely disappointed by this.  I’ve been working with computers for over thirty years.  This stuff should be easy for me.  I was on the cutting edge back when it was slick with the blood of unfortunates clinging to their IBM Selectrics, but lately I feel like an aging gunfighter haunted by the ghosts of the men he’s left dead.  (BTW, that’s me quoting my own book.  Good stuff, eh?)

But I’ve stopped trying to cram my overcrowded brain with the esoteric workings of Twitter and Facebook; I’ll just keep using them and, according to the rule of 10,000, eventually I will catch on.

The Rule of 10,000 has been going around the internet for a while now, and basically says you need to put 10,000 hours into something to become an expert at it.  I can buy that: a musical instrument, learning a craft, studying astronomy—to do it right, these all require an astonishing amount of devotion.  Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, perhaps not so much, but the theory is the same: focus, be consistent, work on getting better and eventually you will become, if not an expert, at least someone who knows their way around.

It think, with the rapidly changing nature of the web, things like Twitter and Facebook should have a Rule of 10,000 – seconds.  That’s nearly three hours and, frankly, I think that’s enough.


  1. I definitely know the feeling of wishing you could see results RIGHT NOW. It takes patience to learn patience, which can be frustrating. But it seems like you're working hard, and it will definitely pay off soon!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  2. Sarah, thanks for the encouragement! I'd like to learn to be patient, but it takes too much time.

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