Monday, June 11, 2018

Practice Does Not Make Perfect

I spent the weekend with my daughter at a dance recital. I got the day off of going to the stable this time. I am always reminded of the comment you often hear people say - "Practice Makes Perfect." I always feel sorry for people who believe this because they are so missing the point.

Practice DOES NOT make perfect.

PERFECT practice makes perfect.

My daughter's ballet instructor is someone who truly believes this. Bonnie never lets her dancers move on to the next element of the dance until the prior part is perfect. As they practice their routines, she is always on their case to make sure the positions are proper and their posture is perfect. The result, a great performance.

My other daughter rides Hunter Jumper equestrian and she too has been fortunate to have some great coaches who demand excellence. The team at her current stables, Thumbs Up Farm push for that excellence. Heels down. Hands in the right position. All of the fundamentals. It is not about the safety, although this certainly comes into play. It is about the perfection of the ride that makes a beautiful performance in the arena.

Finally my son, the swimmer pushes for the same thing every day at practice. Even though much of the practice is about endurance and pacing, there is also the element of him having to push himself to "race speed." Keeping it at that
higher pace allows him the chance to "duplicate" that same performance when he hits the pool at an actual meet. If he never practices that upper level speed, when he hits the race, he will do what he always does.

So, what does this have to do with writing? The answer is simple. As you sit down to work on any piece of writing, you need to push yourself to make that story perfect for publication. Just writing and not putting that effort into the piece to make it the best thing possible is teaching your brain that mediocre is OK.

This is actually one of the reasons why I am not a big fan of the NaNoWriMo   or even those competitions that many writing chapters have where they do "Blitz" writing. Yes, the intent of programs like this is good. They want people to get writing. The problem, however, is that the strength of the writing, the focus on making the story amazing with every click of the keyboard is not there. 

As you write this week, take the time to maybe slow down some. Make sure that those sentences, those characters, those scenes and those plots are the best you can do. You might surprise yourself with some really good writing. 

1 comment:

  1. Love ya, Scott!!!!!

    I am not a fan of NaNoWriMo. Never have never will be. You literally took the words out of my mouth. I do not want to write for the sake of writing. I've been there and I've seen the results.

    I want to create positive habits. I want to understand the craft of story telling. I want to create the best first draft possible and not a bunch of mumble jumble words.

    Give me a decent first draft any day. By having such a thing I can use it to craft a much better second draft and so on. Or, give me junk.....ala NaNoWriMo.

    No thanks.

    PS: Great pics. You are one proud daddy. :)