Does the 10,000 hour rule apply to learning copywriting?

20 replies
It may not. Tim Ferris weighs in on the 10,000 Hour rule in the last few pages of this doc:
The 4-Hour Chef PDF -- First 70 pages of META section
#apply #copywriting #hour #learning #rule
  • Profile picture of the author Moriarty
    My thoughts are that you never stop learning copywriting. Once you're happy with it, you've put way more than 10,000 hours into it, made some money and had a lot of fun!

    What do you want from life??
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  • Profile picture of the author ASCW
    Haven't read the pdf yet.

    But I think nobody accounts for the transference of skills.

    For example for years I played Yu-Gi-Oh extremely competitively.
    I put in roughly 10,000 hours.

    Then when I switched to a different card game, my learning curve was way easier because so many of the skills transferred so directly.

    Many of these skills apply to many areas inside and outside of games. So I "pick things up" quickly, because I've already put in my 10,000 hours. Just in a slightly different form.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Read the PDF. They writer defines "World Class" as being in the top 5%.

      If that were correct, I was "World Class" six months into sales. To me "World Class" means that you are literally better at something than anyone you have seen compete. How many UFC fighters are in the top 5% of the population as far as fighting skills? All of them. How many are "World Class"? Maybe 5. (according to "World Class" expert...me :rolleyes

      In copywriting? I would think 10 years is a minimum to be as good as any Guru.
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      • Profile picture of the author Tim Bazley
        The trouble with this 10,000 hour thing is that it can put people off from even starting.

        The natural assumption is you've got to put in the 10k hours before daring to go out and earn your first pennies...you don't.

        Learn the basics, go out and use them to earn your living, then build up your skill levels over the coming years.

        It's a little bit like learning to drive...you can take an intensive driving course and pass your test in a few days, but it will be 5 - 10 years before you'll be a highly experienced expert driver.

        But that doesn't mean you can't drive down to the shops the day after passing your test!

        Don't worry about the 10,000 hours, just study the basics for a short while, get started and grow from there.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by Tim Bazley View Post

          The trouble with this 10,000 hour thing is that it can put people off from even starting.

          The natural assumption is you've got to put in the 10k hours before daring to go out and earn your first pennies...you don't.

          Learn the basics, go out and use them to earn your living, then build up your skill levels over the coming years.
          We are in complete agreement. It would be silly to think that you would train for 10 years,and then go out to make a living. You start now.

          The "10 year thing" was to become a real expert. And that's assuming that you put in some real effort to improve, not just do the same thing over and over again. And the ten year mark was ten years of doing what you want to get great at. Not study. ..But doing it.

          If you're a copywriter, it's ten years of daily writing copy plus training. I would think you would start working after you have a basic grasp of what you do.
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan Ferrari
            I read Outliers, which popularized that theory and I think it makes a lot of sense. You do have to put time into something if you want to improve. There's no arguing that, in my opinion.

            But what I've found in the things that I've gotten good at is that if you are "world-class" in the skill of acquiring skills, you can progress faster than someone else putting in the same amount of hours.

            Two examples from my own life:

            I've been handwriting a lot of other writer's copy lately. I think that an hour spent copying something by hand is better spent than an hour studying or reading a book on how to write good copy. My skills have noticeably improved in the time I've been doing this, much faster than in similar chunks of time prior to that.

            I surf. I've been doing it for about one year. I am probably better than most people who have been at it for one year. Why? I think its because I literally watch surfing videos every night while I eat dinner. I've internalized a lot of the motions. And when I'm in the water, I carefully watch the guys that are better than me, to see what they are doing. I think that shortens the learning curve.
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            • Profile picture of the author laraGTN
              Originally Posted by Dan Ferrari View Post

              I read Outliers, which popularized that theory and I think it makes a lot of sense. You do have to put time into something if you want to improve. There's no arguing that, in my opinion.

              But what I've found in the things that I've gotten good at is that if you are "world-class" in the skill of acquiring skills, you can progress faster than someone else putting in the same amount of hours.

              Two examples from my own life:

              I've been handwriting a lot of other writer's copy lately. I think that an hour spent copying something by hand is better spent than an hour studying or reading a book on how to write good copy. My skills have noticeably improved in the time I've been doing this, much faster than in similar chunks of time prior to that.

              I surf. I've been doing it for about one year. I am probably better than most people who have been at it for one year. Why? I think its because I literally watch surfing videos every night while I eat dinner. I've internalized a lot of the motions. And when I'm in the water, I carefully watch the guys that are better than me, to see what they are doing. I think that shortens the learning curve.
              I'd agree re: shortening the learning curve. I had this same experience when I was a tennis player. I watched as much tennis as I could, studied it and studied other players' when I wasn't playing. I improved SO quickly in a short time span and I can only attribute it to my extra time studying.

              I actually find the 10,000 hr "rule" to be comforting. I know I am learning and earning while I put in those 10,000 hrs but I also don't expect to be an expert while logging those hours.

              In other words I don't beat myself up for not being perfect!
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    forget all of this sh*t and just focus on doing your best.

    Students who get into Harvard university dont nessecarily have 10,000 hours, they just have higher standards

    Studies show that students with the highest scores dont study the most

    Its about what you do with your time rather than how much time is spent.

    2 hours of real concentrated effort is worth 10 hours of unfocused lazy procrastination and calling it work

    Forget about how many hours you put in and just focus on doing your very best with every minute you invest into your copy

    Ultimately everyone has the same hours in the day, its what we do with them that counts. We all get the same amount of time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Ceskavich
    Since when did Tim Ferris master anything? The guy does a ton of cool stuff. But his entire schtick is having the attention span of a fruit fly.
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    • Profile picture of the author andrewkar
      Originally Posted by Alex Ceskavich View Post

      Since when did Tim Ferris master anything? The guy does a ton of cool stuff. But his entire schtick is having the attention span of a fruit fly.
      his books are written by ghosts from third world countries mate. And those guys are good (unless I'm wrong..)

      Talking about some salesman stuff etc...

      have a look at this
      and then at this "hardball selling" ...

      It's ALL you need to know to PRODUCE money.
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    • Profile picture of the author verial
      Originally Posted by Alex Ceskavich View Post

      Since when did Tim Ferris master anything? The guy does a ton of cool stuff. But his entire schtick is having the attention span of a fruit fly.
      I've always seen him as a master of time management, more than anything. The dude knows how to apply himself to the things he wants to do. Most people in live are working at one thing the majority of the time in the majority of their days (which is, consequentially, what makes them a master).

      When you're always jumping from subject to subject as Ferriss is, you're at least learning how to adapt quickly, which itself can be considered a skill.

      And to a large extent, he is a master of marketing. We are all talking about him now, are we not?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ephrils
    What's the best way to improve writing? Write more.

    Jerry Seinfeld would write jokes every day like a 9-5 job. His particular writing is a learned skill like any other and the way he improved it was by writing all the time.

    We all have our unique advantages and skill sets so pick up on stuff like this at a different pace. Maybe someone will need 10,000 hours and another only 5,000. It really come down to your effort.

    What you get out is what you put in.

    You can't become a master martial artist by watching Youtube videos of other masters all day long, you have to get out there and do it yourself often and every day.

    I don't think it applies because everyone learns at a different pace. Nothing is a substitute for doing the task constantly though.
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  • Profile picture of the author oscarb
    "attention span of a fruit fly"

    That damn fruit fly is relentless, though, which is a great tendency to have.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Ceskavich
    I heard it put a really interesting way, yesterday: "All outcomes are simply a process... not a fixed thing. So the flower is simply the current step in the process of 'flowering.' And in this way, the seed holds the flower inside it. Since the seed is simply the current step in the process of 'flowering.' "

    If we hold that to be true of all processes... and it seems to me that it is true... a finished sales letter is simply the current moment in the process of 'writing copy.' Which means the first word you write in any particular project contains all you're going to do on that project already held inside of it. (The sum of your experience, your environment and your personality which will naturally come together in your finished product.)

    If this is the case, it also stands to reason that the very first word of copy you write contains the whole of your process of learning to write copy. So the first word of copy you write and the last word of copy you write are 100% exactly the same. They're simply the process of writing copy.

    And "mastery" is just our fancy way of making it more important than it really is.

    If you think about it this way, all the stress just falls out of it: You're already as much of a master as you're ever going to be at writing copy. You're simply away from yourself in time and space. Eventually, you'll get there. Your personality, your environment and external factors will get you to your particular process of 'writing copy.'

    So write this word. Then the next word. Then the next.
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    • Profile picture of the author imicrothinking
      I second what some warriors said above...it's a little off putting to use the 10,000 hour rule in anything - it's probably a good heuristic in gauging time required for mastery, but not necessary just to get started.

      Quite honestly, if I had known what I now know, to study copywriting, I'd simply do nothing but two things: (1) Take a notepad and start scribbling away; (2) Keep a swipe file and keep a copy of outstandingly brilliant ads.

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  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    It apply to almost anything you want to be great at. 10,000 hours is just a gauge. It's not cast in stone. I read an article about how one of the world's best soccer player became - best.

    Practice!

    Throughout the article, it's all about practice. How he picked up one trick and be the master of that trick. He is already good by the time he turn 18. Yet his commitment to excellence make him the world's best. He is valued now at $80million and he is just what....25?

    How Ronaldo became the world's best - the inside story
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  • Profile picture of the author FuNwiThChRiS
    Let me put it this way --- what if you spent 10,000 hours doing something the wrong way? For example, bowling for 10,000 hours without learning how to spin the ball like the pros.

    You'd never be as consistent or achieve the same peak levels as the true "experts" who have maximized every ounce of their potential.

    The 10,000 hour rule is largely just internet fodder.

    Learn how to do something right, practice it hard, and your own abilities will determine how long it takes to get "good at it."
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  • Profile picture of the author Velant
    Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

    It may not. Tim Ferris weighs in on the 10,000 Hour rule in the last few pages of this doc:
    The 4-Hour Chef PDF -- First 70 pages of META section
    I feel this quantification is very much arbitrary. 10,000 is just a nice looking figure to make a rule about. Some will need 15,000, while others only 5,000. It also strongly depends on the comlexity of the subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeanIM
    IMHO, "it depends"

    ...on your innate ability

    and

    ...how 'awake' you've been during life

    Thanks for the link...will check it out. Tim's an interesting cat.
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