Practice makes Perfect
How often has someone told you, ‘Just enjoy it?’ Those words have been said to me on numerous occasions throughout my different career paths. And I’ve said it just as often to my students. For example, when I’ve assessed new teachers in the classroom, I often begin by saying: ‘Don’t worry. Pretend I’m not here and just enjoy it.’
However, I would argue that enjoyment of doing something can only be achieved after the painstaking tasks of practising and learning the required skills.
When I take a writing break, mainly because the eyes have screamed, Stop! I quite often play my piano. I find it relaxing and due to having played since childhood, it requires little thinking and I enjoy it. But, I can only enjoy it because I practised at least 90 minutes a day for years in order to master the art. This included grueling sessions of learning scales and arpeggios and tackling Bach and Beethoven note by note, line by line. That part I did not enjoy. The enjoyment only came once I’d developed the skills for performing a piece of music from start to finish.
Likewise, top class tennis players enjoy playing but not until they have developed the skills and stamina to actually return balls and win games. This can only be achieved through hard graft, which is not always enjoyable.
Writing is no different. No matter what profession or qualifications we have to our name, without continued and committed practice of this particular craft we will not improve or become the best we can possibly be. If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t enjoy every part of the writing journey but what we do enjoy is completing a story or an article that we are proud of. This didn’t just materialize but came about after lots of practice, preparation and hard work.
Nevertheless, I will still say to my students, ‘Enjoy it!’ because I believe enjoyment should be paramount in whatever we are trying to accomplish, no matter how difficult the journey. Life is precious and far too short to be wasted on something that makes us miserable.
I would be interested to know your thoughts and if you share similar experiences.