Originally Posted by Nancy Fulda
There's an old adage that says most writers churn out about 100,000 words of junk before they start writing anything good.
That may or may not be true in any given case, but I do find that the most proficient writers tend the be the ones who have been doing it the longest.
I like Malcolm Gladwell's idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at something, be it hobby or career.
I wrote five novels in graduate school, and they definitely fall into the "junk" category. Then I wrote about 2 million words of genre stories that I posted on a gaming Web site over a period of eight years; they were essentially fanfic but I got a lot of feedback and that helped me improve my style.
I'm not saying my current books are high literature, but I am comfortable posting and selling them; I never would have gotten to that point without going through the above.
I'm not saying every author has to go through such a gauntlet first, but like anything else writing is a skill that needs to be developed.