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.

Enjoy!!

I would be interested to know your thoughts and if you share similar experiences.

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you. Practice, practice, practice! But make sure you enjoy it along the way. :)

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  2. Good philosophy, Christine :) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. All the best!

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  3. You're right, Nicola. Only when you practice and know how to do something can you truly enjoy it. Well said! :)

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Chrys. A huge lesson I've also learned, besides practice, is that of patience. I am still working hard at improving that! :)

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  4. The process might not always be the most enjoyable, but it is enjoyable to have a finished product.

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    1. It is the most rewarding feeling, Cherie. I agree wholeheartedly. Have a lovely weekend.

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  5. I completely agree, Nicola - part of the enjoyment comes after the hard graft! My husband finds playing the piano a very relaxing way to de-stress and I love listening to the music.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Rosemary. Music has often inspired my stories. Embracing the creative arts is so rewarding. Have a lovely weekend. I hope the weather is better there than here. It is one dreary, grey Saturday. All the best.

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  6. I think, with all the arts, it's important to realize you'll never reach perfection but that's no reason to give up if it's something you want to do. The enjoyment comes from trying new things, discovering what works - and what doesn't - and gradually improving. I can write much better today than I did twenty years ago, so I just hope I'll be even better in another twenty years!

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    1. Well put, Linda. Luckily, I was born with obstinance, which has been put to good use throughout my life - I never give up!! I think you write beautifully and I always enjoy reading your 'jottings' :) Thank you for popping by to comment and wish you all the best with your current WIP. Enjoy!

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  7. I agree, Nicola. Practice is the key to unlocking the enjoyment that will surely follow once all the hard work is finished. It all seems to boil down to consistency, but it helps if you can enjoy the process too and remind yourself that oiling away every day will bring rewards in the end.

    I started learning to play the piano in my late forties and it was only the daily practice - not natural ability by any means! - that helped me through the grades. The practice was much more fun than the exams themselves, but the best part was scraping through with a pass!

    Thank you for a lovely post. xx

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    1. Thank you, Joanna. I hated the exams and could never control the shakes!! That's not a good thing when you actually need your fingers to function :) Having experienced those nerves was positive for me as I could then teach my students how to control theirs. I'm so pleased you enjoy playing the piano too. Not only is it good for the soul but also a fantastic way to keep the ole joints moving and staying strong.
      Not long now until 9th July! I am so excited for you. Wishing you all the best!

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  8. Great post! It's difficult to enjoy something if we're not improving. That's the challenge for me: always getting better.

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  9. Thank you for popping by to comment, Milo. Lovely to 'see' you. All the best.

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  10. I am married to a musician, Nicola, so I know all about the practice that is involved in playing an instrument. My husband practises for at least 2-3 hours every day. I agree with you - it is through regular writing that writers hone their craft and improve. It is all about commitment.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Susanna. Commitment and dedication is what makes the difference between being good at something and being great at something. As Mozart said: “A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.” Wishing you all the best.

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  11. Practice to the point we can enjoy it. Good analogy with playing the piano. That's how I feel about playing guitar. And yes, many, many hours were put in learning.

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Alex. I tried to learn the guitar whilst studying music at University - I admire anyone who can play it. I didn't like it at all - the bleeding fingers (too soft finger skin) and the achy wrists. A totally different hand position and use of muscles to that of the piano. But I love to hear the guitar being played - especially classical guitar. Wishing you continued musical and writing enjoyment!

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  12. I think that as a writer, I need to practise all the time in order to improve just as musicians and sports people do. It would be so easy to give up when success is slow in coming but if I can see an improvement it means that the practice has been worth it and I enjoy the finished result. A great post, Nicola.

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I think as a writer success is two-fold - the improvement and recognising our achievements is one form and the other (the hardest part) is getting published :) My knuckles are raw from knocking on doors - I must start to use the door bell :) Lovely to 'see' you. Wishing you all the best.

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