Or your two years? Or whatever number you put on the gap between when you start a creative endeavor and when that thing starts to click.
Side-note: It’s all bullshit — that number. Some reach it a lot sooner, others much later. But for the sake of this conversation, let’s call it 10,000 hours (since Malcolm did all that work, we’ll use his number).
I remember when I started writing seriously. It was the thing I wanted to do. I knew how good I wanted to be, but I also knew that I wasn’t (nearly) that good. The words came out like old molasses. Slow and lumpy. Messy. Kinda sweet but still kinda gross.
Now, although I’m still a beginner (and hopefully, always will be) it’s far smoother. I’m doing important things with my creative endeavor. The work is a lot more enjoyable. But for the longest time, it was a trudge through the mud.
If you’re just starting out on your creative journey, I want to ask you — how much will your 10,000 hours cost?
Will you take a crappy job with a better schedule so you can have more time to tack those 10,000 hours up without starving? Or multiple crappy jobs? Maybe you’ll dump some deadbeat friends/relatives/significant others who suck the life out of you so that you have it for your thing. Or you’ll kick a bad habit or two so that you can afford to work less hours at your j-o-b.
If you’re starting out, just know that there’s always a cost. An expense of time, money, energy, frustration, ridicule, and lost sleep that you’ll need to pay up on. But if you realize this, you’ll see each one of these barriers as what they are — just payments towards that final balance, whatever it is.
Please know that it will click. There will be a glorious day where you’ll look at what you’re doing and know that you’ve reached a level of proficiency that will take you somewhere. This is when the work starts paying you back.
You’ll find that you won’t allow yourself to get too comfortable when you reach this place. Because right when you’ve reached your before-sought-after level of proficiency, you’ll look up and see new heights you’ll want to climb to. And you’ll start that stopwatch over, seeing the 10,000 click back to 0:00.
But at least, then, you’ll know that whatever price you paid for it was worth it. And you’ll gladly take out another loan to do it again.