Thursday, March 10, 2011

(Re) Kindle Your TPR Fire: Step One, Examine Your Writing Habits.

This is the first post in a series leading up to TPR's anniversary on April 12th.

A few years ago I went to a conference on parenting. The trainer used a study as an example of what not to do. It was a study meant to prove Primal Therapy. The idea was that "catharsis" releases anger and makes everything all better. The children in the study were to make use of punching bags and foam bats in managing their emotions. The thought was, when they were all done beating the heck out of things they would be more manageable. Instead the study found they were just more likely to beat on things. It turns out, this trainer told us, that you get better at what you practice. The story and the phrase has stuck with me (hence the doorway to The Practice Room).

Then there is the 10000 hour rule. It takes 10000 hours of practice in order to become a master, according to a study by Anders Ericsson in the early 1990s. He correlated achievement into hours of practice and found that the very best practitioners of ______ (fill in the blank with the expertise of your choice) had put in about 10000 hours of practice, the good 8000 and the average 4000 hours. Read more about it here.

So add those two things together and it indicates you should use your time wisely. Energy flows where attention goes.

This week examine your current writing habits whether you are active in TPR or not. Are your practices getting you where you want to be? No reason to get worked up about it, just notice. Ask yourself these questions: What makes you start writing? Why do you stop? What are your distractions? What are your procrastinations? Just describe. This is the first step in choosing where your energy will flow.

The practice room has been my chance to "hone my attention" (Thanks for the phrase, Dianne Salerni!).   I do my best to let everything else slide during our unplugging hours and have found that because of the intentionality of the time, there is an intensity and productivity to the focus. Try it for yourself. Everyone is welcome!

 Next Thursday: Step Two, Find Your Writing Values.


  1. "Energy flows where attention goes."

    Okay, I totally need to make a poster with this, and put it above my desk. LOVE it.

    I'm trying not to focus my energy on mooping... and I LOVE all that bit on 10,000 hours of practice. YES. I will hit those 10,000 hours and I WILL become a master! And in the meantime, I'll keep chugging along, learning all I can :)

  2. You are well on your way, Marisa dear! I should figure out how to log hours at tpr. Maybe tpr-ers get the t-shirt after they log 10000???

  3. This is a great post Tina! I just wish TPR was open when I was available... I need the discipline! :)

  4. This is totally true! I wish I had spent more of my youth writing instead of whatever it was that I felt was more important at the time. Then I might be up to my 10,000 hours instead of trudging along through adequacy and averages.

  5. Thanks, Ansha! And good to see you! Maybe some day our schedule would work. The structure makes me way more productive.

    Hanny - Oh my how I wasted my time! Well, at least we are on it now right? There should be no looking back.

  6. Thanks for the reminder of looking how we work. For me, the writing stuff is fine. Blogging, emailing, staying in communication with people... Hm. Practic.

  7. Robert - I fall off that communication wagon too sometimes. Those practice room hours are good for all sorts of things!

  8. "Energy flows where attention goes."

    I love this! I'm with you Marisa--that goes on the wall.

    And I heart Robert's comment as well. Sigh.

    Nice post!!

    I need to start channeling my energy!!

  9. Oh, and I want to earn my shirt. Hm... How to track that sort of thing...

  10. Hi, H! We wouldn't wait for the full 10000 hours tell t-shirt probably, but logging hours would be fun. There should be all sorts of rewards for putting in the time, not just chat...

  11. I wrote a piece for a magazine many years ago - it was a personal essay on my foray into roller blading and it was for a Buddhist mag (The Shambhala Sun). What I found out by putting on a pair of skates and heading out on the flattest piece of pavement I could find (in a hilly town) was that you roll towards what you look at. Seemed profound then and it does now too - if we want to BE writers we have to write. I know that I couldn't learn how to write a novel any other way than by writing one. Now I've got three done but not dusted and I think I must be on my way to my 10000 hours!
    Thanks for your thoughtful post - I'm going to bookmark it for sure.

  12. "Energy flows where attention goes."

    Wow! Those are simple but wise words. It could be a great mantra for staying focused. Thank you :-)

  13. Jan, I so agree that the roller blading lesson is profound! My husband has found that with teaching kids to ride bikes, the roll where their eyes go! And he has taught a lot of children to ride bike. We met while working at a shelter that serviced kids until 6 years of age and so many of those 6 year olds learned to ride during their 3 day stay. This learning how to novel business has been difficult and I say my hours are getting up there as well. But I am learning to enjoy the wheels.

    Paul, I wish I could say the phrase was mine. I think they are meditation phrasology - or at least that is what I heard them in conjunction with! But you should feel free to use them as often as you want. I sure did. And will continue to. As needed. Good to see you!

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