I’ve been playing piano since I was five years old; I’ve been practicing just as long. One phrase I despise is “Practice makes perfect.”
Because it’s not true.
What if I were to practice one song every day for a year playing the wrong notes, neglecting to fix errors along the way? The result would be far from perfect and the practice would have been in vain.
How could a pianist possibly go so long without practicing correctly? By never having opportunities to perform—the chance to display how hard they’ve worked through practice.
For example, when I’m scheduled to play the piano for church my motivation to practice suddenly becomes a priority; I want my piece to be presentable so I work hard to ensure that it will be.
Performance motivates practice.
This applies to writing as well. Private practice is helpful, but alone it becomes stagnant.
Sharing publicly what I’ve written motivates me to learn from experts, tweak my own writing style, and correct mistakes as necessary. I am challenged to improve which results in focused, purposeful practice.
How do I know I'm practicing effectively as a writer?
When I stop worrying about playing it safe.
Writing involves risk-taking. It’s easy to share something safe but to improve and grow I must be willing to make myself vulnerable—through public practice.
Some of my greatest opportunities to grow as a pianist occurred when I was stretched beyond my comfort zone. My most efficient practices were a result of being challenged to reach a goal—only attainable through hard work, determination, and endurance.
Challenges produce effectiveness.
As a writer, there are ideas constantly floating around in my head—some even make it to paper; however, I allow my fear of vulnerability to take over and I neglect to post most of what I had originally planned.
But today, I’m challenged to change my practicing technique; beginning today, I am committed to regularly public practice.
Because, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.” (Alexander Libermann)