Practice, Practice, Practice

You must have gathered by now that I am pretty lazy. I could have spent more time thinking of a better image to put here than a Calvin and Hobbes strip. Let’s just say that this makes sense because of this reason: Calvin is freaking out because he didn’t practice.

Of course, my intelligent reader, (for that’s exactly what you are) you’d immediately dismiss that as a dumb reason, partly because Calvin is simply just a terror to the class and he has no desire to learn whatsoever. This is obviously not a practice problem. This is just a failure to cooperate on any level.

Of course, if you’re here and reading my incredibly monotonous blog articles, you probably don’t have Calvin’s problem when pertaining to the craft of writing. Calvin doesn’t want to excel, but you certainly do. You want my advise on how to excel? You may not like it. You may disbelieve me.

Heck, I’d probably tell you what you already know. BUT, you can’t accuse me of being a broken record because I haven’t addressed the topic yet! Now put away your waggling index finger and listen to what I’m about to say.

But seriously, all jokes aside, there is one thing that stands above the rest when it comes to achieving your ideal writing product: practice.

You know how they say, “The best way to learn how to do something well is to do it”? Yeah, well I like: “Everyone knows the best way to learn is under intense, life-threatening pressure”. (Thanks Spidey!). But still, if you want to be good at writing, one of the best ways to get better is just to go out and do it.

It’s like what they say about getting better at video games. You could take all those StarCraft courses on the Osiris method or do all those virtual aiming exercises to get better at FPSs, but the best way to get better at the game is, y’know, to actually go out and play the game.

The same goes for a career or job. If you’re hiring for a company, are you gonna take the guy with the PhD and zero field experience versus the guy with a college education and 20 years of it? People value life skills, because grubby, in-the-field work is what makes you good at your craft.

You could read every writing guide, take every course, and study under the masters, but if your reading skill only is good inside a classroom, you’ll never be the master. You’ll only be a student. You won’t be a doer, you’ll be only a dreamer. What do you expect to do, write your novel at lunch and recess?

Here’s the rub: no one will every come up to you, present you with a certificate, and say, “I deem Jane Smith worthy of writing a book about sci-fi aliens.” This is partly because that’s what a degree won’t do for you, even if someone says it is this way. That being said, you have to forge your own destiny.

That statement sounds like something out of the very book you’re writing, but it’s true.

The only person in the world who needs to give you authority to write a book is you. This is where the practice element comes in. You determine how much you practice writing, you write it, you criticize it, you send it out to editors, you decide what stays in and what goes, and you are the author.

But your practice determines this. However much you practice writing determines if you’re honest. If you only write scantily, or just on the weekends, or if your time on leave gets extended, you can’t expect to be honest with yourself. If the only person who deems you worthy of being an author is you, and you don’t practice, you’d be lying to yourself to tell yourself that you’re an author.

Practice proves to yourself that you’re getting better. It speeds you on your path to publication. In the end, it’s the only thing that can make you worthy. It keeps you away from complacency. Remember: all the writers in the world serve as a guide. I can teach you how to illustrate a comic book, but you are the one who has to make their dreams a reality.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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