Monday, October 8, 2007

Becoming an Expert

So here's a really interesting article about becoming an expert at something (anything, but mostly focused on sports, music, and writing) by practicing it. Not just doing it passively but by something called "deliberate practice:"

Deliberate practice is just this:

  1. performing your skill (or, more typically, a piece of it)
  2. monitoring your performance
  3. evaluating your success
  4. figuring out how to do it better

This is something I've always been interested going back to my baseball days but more recently when I was trying to learn to play the guitar and learning to play golf.

The key part of practicing seems to be making it constructive. That is, monitoring and evaluating to see how it can be done better. But it's difficult when you're doing something "fun" with other people because you want to a) win and b) have fun. So it's tough to get better when you're trying to do those two things.

The article quotes a huge (44 pages) academic study that I printed out and will try to get through because it's just a very interesting topic for me. The guy talks about becoming an expert writer and how writing for that website he gets to practice and by reading reader's comments he can gauge how he's doing in terms of getting better or not.

Which, honestly, is the whole reason why I started a website and then this blog. But it sucks because I haven't gotten enough people to visit the site and I guess haven't compelled them enough to leave comments on the issue or the writing.

I've been thinking of posting some of the stories that I've run through the submission process (for publication) and don't think are going to be pushed anymore. Maybe stories are more likely to stir up some comments rather than inane talk about random subjects.

But we'll just have to wait and see.

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