We may not think much of practice, but isn’t that what everyone does until they get published? Therefore, if we want others to read our words, we do well to practice deliberately and frequently.
Make Time to Practice
Practice becomes painful as soon as we regard it as work. But if we choose to make it fun, we can eagerly embrace the opportunity each day. We won’t have to find the time. We will make the time.
Practice with Desire
Some have said, “Practice makes perfect.” Really? True, we’ll not get better without practice, but if we could practice perfectly, we wouldn’t need to practice, would we?
Since to some degree all practice is flawed, our imperfect practice can leave us unchanged—or even make us worse.
Only one kind of practice is guaranteed to make us better: practice with a desire to improve. With that vision, we will readily admit our weaknesses and keep seeking ways to grow our strengths.
Recognize the Value of Practice
If success were easy, it wouldn’t be worth much. Talent is over-rated, an excuse for those who view themselves as something less than they could be.
Many people regard Mozart as a “child prodigy,” as if what comes so difficultly for others came naturally to him as a youngster. Actually, from the time he could walk, he ate, slept, and breathed music. He copied the masters. He had a private tutor. By age twelve, he had more practice than most musicians experience in a lifetime.
What we see in others are the results of many hours of hard work. If we see the value, we’ll do the work, causing those who haven’t invested the time to recognize us as “talented.”
Practice with Persistence
Bestselling authors have learned the value of persistence. They use time wherever they can, gathering ideas, making notes, and writing. Even with that effort, they will produce around 750 good words a day, about three double-spaced pages. At the same time, they might cut 2,000 bad words, because they insist on good words.
At such a slow daily output, how they can finish a novel in a year. They do it by writing every day.
Do the math: five days per week, fifty weeks per year, equals 750 pages of 187,500 words.
Persistence in writing something, almost every day is much more productive than occasionally writing a lot.
Practice with Purpose
Writing instructors repeatedly encourage aspiring writers to read books in their genre and other books as well. That’s wonderful advice, because we’re sure to absorb some of what worked in bestselling fiction and nonfiction.
But we also run the risk of absorbing what doesn’t work.
Try this fifteen- to thirty-minute exercise once a week:
- Read a page from a novel and pick your favorite paragraph.
- Read the paragraph aloud.
- Write the paragraph.
- As the character, put yourself more deeply into the scene, and ask questions about you could better describe what you’re seeing.
- Edit the paragraph, looking for ways to improve the sentences.
- Using your own words, write how you would describe the scene.
For an example, Click Here.