Friday, February 5, 2010

Staying in the Habit

Writing is like any other art form. It takes constant practice. For me, at least. It's not something I can do once or twice every other week or so. It's constant. The more I write, the more constant my writing sessions, the better I get. Take a week off, for whatever reason, and it's really hard to get back into the swing of things.

In French class yesterday, our teacher was talking about the Chinese calligraphy class she'd been taking. We have a foreign exchange student from Taiwan in that class, and the teacher said, "This is an art, isn't it?"

The girl said yes, it is. Her sister is a master calligrapher, to the point where she can sell her work. The teacher then said, "You play the piano. How many hours do you spend practicing?"

"Six hours every day," she said.

"It takes 60,000 hours of practice to become a master," the teacher said.

60,000 hours. That's a lot of time, when you think about it. Especially for students who have to jam in homework, a social life, other hobbies and interests, and their practice into a single day. Some students even have jobs.

My point is that it takes a long time, a lot of hard work, to become good at something. My classmate didn't say "usually six hours, but sometimes I only practice for three." It was "Six hours everyday." Everyday. I certainly can't do anything non-stop for six hours. Except reading a really good book. Maybe. Still, it's good to have a set time to write. Or at least make sure you're writing something everyday. I failed at that this week. I got hung up on the end of a scene because it could have gone several different ways. The way I wanted to take it wasn't necessarily the best way to go for the book. So I've spent the week agonizing over it.

I should have been writing. Write the different endings, the different ways it could go, then go from there, but I didn't. Now, I've spent two days trying to get back into writing, and I've barely put together 500 words.

My goal for the next week is to get back into the writing habit. No more slacking. I need to write at least 500 words. For the book. Essays and literature journals don't count!

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