So the stats for February are in, and they’re a mixed bag of nuts.
Well, actually the stats are quite nice aside from one point — the amount of time I wasted. In fact the month was going along quite splendidly until I was out with some friends one Friday night, having a few beers. This wasn’t the problem; there should be time for social life, and I’d accounted for this in my reading/writing schedule. But the next day, oh boy.
I haven’t had a hangover like that for years. I was completely immobilized throughout the day, and in the end I had to put it down as 8 hours wasted. That brings the total for the month up to just over ten hours. Now I’m not saying I would’ve used all of those 8 hours on deliberate writing practice (in fact that would’ve been highly unlikely), but still a couple of hours of practice that got wasted right there.
So now I’ve almost doubled the amount of time I’ve wasted doing nothing since I started counting my practice time in September 2017.
Now, that was all the negative stuff, but as I said, February was actually quite a good month for me practice-wise. I did just above 13.5 hours of writing exercises, 9.4 hours of story writing, exactly 1.75 hours of story visualization, and more than 42 hours of reading fiction (I only read two novels, but I churned a ton of short stories).
As a side note, I should really be renaming my “writing time” to “story analyzing time”. Yes, less catchy, I know. But I’m not really counting the time I read if I’m sleepy or unfocused and therefore doesn’t really get much out of the reading, practice wise. My data is meant to highlight the amount of time I’ve spent on deliberate practice after all. And if you’ve read my 2018 Reading List post, you’ll know that I’ve started counting listening to serial, which isn’t really fiction but is a form of storytelling, into my reading time as well. The last few days I’ve taken it a step further and counted in time spent watching movies as well since I’ve spent that time analyzing the movies and their story structure. Now, this doesn’t mean I count 1.5 – 3 hours of reading time for watching a movie. More like 30 – 40 minutes, since I know I’m not analyzing as much story as I would’ve if I’d read for 3 hours straight if that makes any sense?
Back to the data. All this comes down to just above 67 hours of deliberate practice through the month, corresponding to 2.4 hours a day.
This is the first time I’ve gotten over the 2 hours average through an entire month. So, as I said, February hasn’t been a bad month, and I’m looking forward to getting even closer to the goal of 3 hours of deliberate practice a day.
If you have any comments or experiences, especially in regards to using watching movies to practice your writing skills, please feel free to share below.