Practice makes perfect

Girl at pianoGetting back to thinking about writing as a happy chore

When I was a little girl, like other little girls, I had to take piano lessons. This was not a happy time for me. My piano teacher, Mrs. Kimpton, reduced me to tears on many occasions. It wasn’t her fault though; I take all responsibility for each week’s emotional drama. The problem was that I didn’t practice.

I was supposed to practice 30 minutes every day, starting with scales, working my way through the Royal Conservatory lessons, and experimenting with Hooked on Classics.

But here’s what usually happened: I would get home from school and either watch TV, read a book, or chase muskrats at the creek behind our house. (Yes, it’s hard to believe I was a tomboy once, considering what a delicate flower I am today.) To me, practicing piano was a chore; it was something I had to do. And there were so many other more enjoyable things to do instead.

As a consequence, I never ended up loving to play the piano. Although I enjoyed the end product, I was happier to be done, than to be doing.

Fast-forward to today, and I’ve fallen into some of those same bad habits.

The Restless Writers have monthly (-ish) sessions. The day after last month’s session, I promised myself that I would write 500 words a day, just like those classy and committed Wordbitches out west.

One day into a week filled with work, freelance commitments, household responsibilities and an attempt to fit in some exercise, I was telling myself, “Okay, you can skip today, but you absolutely must write 1,000 words tomorrow.” The next day was worse. I’m sure you can see the inevitable word-count snowball coming a mile away.

Our meeting’s on Friday—and if I don’t write a novella by Thursday evening, I’ve got nothing for my girls. Sigh…

So my lesson for today is to get back on track. Get back to writing a little every day. And get back to loving writing a little every day. Don’t let writing become a dreary chore—write for the beauty of language, the pleasure of creation, the excitement of story-telling.

Every session with the Restless Writers is an opportunity to get motivated. Here’s to backing up that motivation with action, and thinking about writing as a happy chore.

Have you ever considered writing a chore? And does that thought motivate or de-motivate you?

Maria

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2 Comments

Filed under Motivation, Trials and Tribulations

2 responses to “Practice makes perfect

  1. Trish Loye Elliott

    This is so true! It can be easy to let the idea of writing every day turn into a chore. I also play those games… ‘Tomorrow, I’ll make up for today and yesterday.’ When I start thinking of writing as a chore then I know I have to get back to daydreaming and remembering how much fun my story is. OR I promise myself that all I have to write is half a page and before you know it, I’ve got my 500 words. It’s okay to lie to yourself when it’s for a good cause. Good luck with the novella! 😉

  2. Oh man, can I relate to this one….I did the whole piano thing too and it was such a chore. And I still make the same excuses to this day re: my writing. Shame!

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