It's the re-work. It's the revision.
Before I (finally) landed a writing job, I was jumping from one opportunity to another. From accounting to corporate finance, writing, blogging, social media management, and so on.
Even on my blog, I jumped from one topic to another: from entrepreneurship to spirituality, personal finance, unconventional careers, and, now, art.
When you haven't found your one thing yet, you have to keep on searching. That's when going wide is okay. But, there will come a time when you have to decide to just stick with it and go deeper into with your craft. Only then can you gain mastery and expertise over your art. Only then can you make your art or your work unique.
You can do that, not just by working or creating more. More important than the work itself is the re-work, the revision. It's revising your work until it becomes the best work that you can do. It's revising your work until your own style and flavor comes out. It's revising your work until you differentiate it from others' similar work.
While reading, I was struck by an article by James Clear. I'm sharing with you a few paragraphs from his post:
"Average college students learn ideas once. The best college students re-learn ideas over and over. Average employees write emails once. Elite novelists re-write chapters again and again. Average fitness enthusiasts mindlessly follow the same workout routine each week. The best athletes actively critique each repetition and constantly improve their technique. It is the revision that matters most.
"To continue the bus metaphor, the photographers who get off the bus after a few stops and then hop on a new bus line are still doing work the whole time. They are putting in their 10,000 hours. What they are not doing, however, is re-work. They are so busy jumping from line to line in the hopes of finding a route nobody has ridden before that they don’t invest the time to re-work their old ideas. And this, as The Helsinki Bus Station Theory makes clear, is the key to producing something unique and wonderful.
"By staying on the bus, you give yourself time to re-work and revise until you produce something unique, inspiring, and great. It’s only by staying on board that mastery reveals itself. Show up enough times to get the average ideas out of the way and every now and then genius will reveal itself.
"Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers popularized The 10,000 Hour Rule, which states that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in a particular field. I think what we often miss is that deliberate practice is revision. If you’re not paying close enough attention to revise, then you’re not being deliberate.
"A lot of people put in 10,000 hours. Very few people put in 10,000 hours of revision. The only way to do that is to stay on the bus."
The next time you think about getting off the bus and jumping to another opportunity, take a moment to think again. Maybe this time, all you need to do is to stay on the bus.
Link: Stay on the Bus: The Proven Path to Doing Unique and Meaningful Work by James Clear