A Call for Practice

I write and publish a blog post every week. This, in fact, is one of them. The other big thing that I am doing this year is writing a book.

I’ll be honest (I can do that here, right?), I’ve really struggled with writing this year.

The majority (if not all) of the problem comes down to resistance. Resistance is that thing that you run up against when you find those things that you just know you’re supposed to do. Resistance will want to keep you down. It’s something that you need to fight against. I’ve been super busy with a lot of other projects that I’ve given precedence over writing. I haven’t felt that great for a number of days this year. I’ve been lazy at times. It’s been a real struggle so far.

Due to this resistance, there have been weeks that I didn’t write the post that I ended up posting until the day that it was posted. That’s bad. I also haven’t worked on my book at all. These are telltale signs that I am still an amateur at this writing thing.

It’s not that professionals don’t feel resistance. They just know how to beat it. Amateurs let resistance win.

I want to be a pro. I want to be world-class. My work ethic says otherwise.

The one giant thing separating me from being a pro? Practice.

Being great at anything requires practice. It doesn’t matter how talented you naturally are, you will never be world-class at anything if you don’t practice. Practice breaks the back of resistance.

Practice needs to become a habit.

For me, that means that every day, no matter what, I am writing 250 words or more. It’s not a lot and it shouldn’t take long, but I have to do it.

I have a lot I want to accomplish as a writer, and without the habit of writing every day, without practice, I will never accomplish those things. Creating a daily writing habit is the single most important thing I can do for my writing. Even if I don’t write about anything that makes sense it’s the habit that’s the important thing.

There is a familiarity that comes with practice. Your craft becomes easier. Resistance will never go away completely, but without the habit, without the necessity to sit down and get better every day, we lose whatever momentum we might have had. Our work is like an old-fashioned water pump. At first, you have to pump a lot to get a little water to flow. Once it starts flowing though, you can pump less and get the same amount of water. When you’ve primed the pump of your work (meaning you practice every day) the work happens on a regular schedule and things seem smoother. If you ever stop pumping, the water/work stops flowing.

If I stop writing regularly then when I actually sit down to write something I really need to, I won’t have anything to say. The keys will feel strange under my fingers. I’ll spend half my time trying to figure out how these words are supposed to form themselves.

By creating a habit, by practicing every day, we overcome the main source of resistance against us. We will have an easier time getting started and our work will flow more quickly and easily.

It doesn’t matter what arena you live in, if you want to be the best in the world at what you do, you have to put in the work when no one is looking. That is what a habit of practice will do for you.