I’m learning to tattoo. Since I live with a tattoo artist (keyword artist here), and see how much of this world is a learnable craft, I figured why not. Do you know what people pay for tattoos? I have quite a few, so I know…
Tattoos aren’t the point here. Practice is.
Practice, and giving up…
When I was a kid, my mom made me practice everything I was involved in. In 2nd grade (maybe 1st, who can remember back that far) I was in baton. I was the only one who knew the routine on that final day when we were put on stage to perform our rendition of this strange sport(?). The 45 minutes a week we were given in class was simply not enough time for those of us still learning how to use our bodies to coordinate this strange new skill.
As much as the practice seemed tedious at the time, (it must have been 30-45 min 5X a week for a couple of months. The horror!) after the fact, it felt great to be up there, PREPARED.
My sister said- Baton? Is that the right word? So here’s baton- this is not me, but was a simialr experience for all to watch. I think I was younger than these girls at the time. Oh boy- the things parents do…
Follow along this line through basketball, flute playing, etc. (Thanks mom, for enabling me to be in the top percentage of all I ever did) 🙂
Still, looking back to the time AFTER parental supervision, I seem to have fallen into this pattern of quitting, or not practicing. Of course, I’ve glossed over this in my head, believing the excuses I lay out for myself about why it was the right decision to move away from a thing unmastered was the correct one.
I definitely have a problem scheduling my time, and really because I allow other people’s schedules to overrule my own. If my sister calls to come hang out with the kids, I go, regardless if I had a full day of character building planned, or if I hadn’t gotten my meditation session in (I think I’m up to an average of twice a week on this activity). If I’m ready to get home after helping out at the diner and get to work, but someone says let’s go get something to eat, I’m more than happy to take the couple of hours (food is my joy. I’m working on that). My workouts are typically the only thing I never miss (when I’m in a committed schedule anyway. I’ll workout at 1 am if that’s what time it is when I get to it. Few other things I do require the limited cognitive capacity for productivity at an hour it’s used to being turned off. You’re brain doesn’t have to be firing that clearly to “pick things up and put them down”).
Looking back. I was saying something about that… my mother’s guidance, remarkable in our generations, seems not to have stuck with me. Writing is a craft, a skill, as well as an artistic calling. Our muses get us to the page, but only persevering through the craft of it will some finished thing appear. The latter is where practice has been forgotten. There are points (many, sometimes) when it stops being fun to get those words vomited out of my head. When the process is painful to the soul, because some days we just don’t feel like it, is when I slide away. I’ve forgotten (did I ever know?) that pain isn’t something to be shied away from. Listening to that voice becomes a leap to inactivity. I really know this. I started a book 23 years ago, and am still playing around with it. Once the fun stuff was out, I was over it.
Didn’t Jack London write 1000 words a day, simply in prompted practice? Didn’t he hate doing, but do it anyway? -translate: Just show up. It’s a mantra used in the fitness industry, why not transfer it to this capacity too?
My newest (brilliant, of course) analogy is to compare all we do to a child just learning to walk. How many times do these kids fall before they’ve mastered what will become a second-nature skill? Can you imagine if they all just stopped trying after the first, or even fourth, times (is there a plot summary there)?
I’m trying to come up with some point to make here about looking back and figuring out why all this quitting in my life has opened my mind to blah blah, so now I’m a better person, but that thing isn’t with me yet. I’m still moving up the hill on this one. Especially with the writing. There’re other things. I quit working out and eating healthy every 6 months (sometimes 3 months, sometimes 2 weeks), then come back to it. I still haven’t figured out anything insightful that I’ve come up with because of viewing this pattern so openly. Just stop quitting, right? #Thingseasiersaidthendone <– which doesn’t mean don’t stop picking it back up, which apparently I have mastered.
If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up. -Autumn Calabrese
Maybe there’s some lesson here about self-confidence. That is for sure a major point in my decisions to put my writing aside. The doubt tells me: It’s not good enough, so why bother.
Just effing do it- finish SOMETHING, and worry about the details after the fact. I started writing to appease the voices in my head; to find worlds to hide away to when I was out of other reading material. Why does it matter how good it is if this is the main point for doing it?
That it takes practice will only make the finished product more miraculous, no?