Practice Makes Perfect! (And GIVEAWAY!)

I had an epiphany the other day. One of those light bulb moments that made me stop and go, “Wow! What a great way of looking at things!”

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, trying to avoid cleaning and packing for our big move, when I came across a post from one of my favorite “gurus,” John Asseraf. He describes himself as “a spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher with an insatiable passion for brain research, quantum physics and helping others achieve and live their ideal life.” He’s written many NY Times Best Selling books, and it’s just inspiring to read his posts or watch him speak.

So, naturally, when I came across a post of his, I stopped to read it.

I love watching the Olympics. Getting to see these athletes get to compete after years of training is so powerful for me as a metaphor re what it takes to be the top or one of the best in your field. What amount of practice do you do to prepare to be your best? These Athletes are a great reminder for me.

Great, right? But I didn’t think too much of it. Not until I scrolled through the comments and saw this one from one of his followers:

John, the one thing that I like about your post is that you mention the ‘…amount of practice’ as opposed to the amount of ‘hard work’ it takes to be the best. This may just seem like a play on words but really, if it’s your dream to become the best at your passion, it’s no longer work. When I watch all those brilliant athletes, I see ppl who have identified their dreams and that, to me, is an achievement in itself…

Boy, is that a fantastic way of breaking things down?

Now, I come from a mindset already of “Work smarter, not harder.” I’ve always eschewed the idea of “Work hard, play hard.” And I certainly don’t believe that a person’s income is or has to be directly related to the amount of “hard work” they put in.

But still, there have been plenty of days when pumping out a couple pages of my manuscript felt like grueling work! That’s right. Not just hard work…grueling work!

Part of this comes as a result of the pressure of wanting to earn money at what I do. And oftentimes, that takes the fun out of things.

I remember as a young girl and a teenager that I would spend countless hours in my room singing, dancing, rehearsing monologues, all in preparation to be a big Broadway star. But as soon as graduating college became contingent on my doing those things, and eventually paying the bills, as well…well, it became work. In my mind, when I rehearsed a monologue, it wasn’t just to satisfy my own burning desire to learn and perform, it was to get a very important piece of paper from the Manhattan School of Music. When I attempted to perfect a song, it was to get a job so that I could pay my bills. And all that felt very much like work.

When I first started writing in my late 20s (having burnt out completely in the performance arena), boy, was that fun! My hubby was working long weekend hours at the time, so as soon as he would leave for the day, I would put on a frilly dress and my tiara (yes, I have a tiara!), sit down at my desk and go! Friends would call me to meet up for coffee or lunch, but I didn’t want to leave my desk. I wanted to play with my imaginary friends.

On top of that, I spent hours and hours and hours reading, researching, going to the library and the bookstore to find more reading material that involved Regency England.

I. Was. Obsessed.

And I really felt that giving back and helping others would help me hone my craft even better, so I spent even more hours critiquing manuscripts for my colleagues.

And then I got a publishing contract.

And then I had a kid.

And then I self-published some more books.

And my kid became a toddler.

And now, writing feels like a whole heck of a lot of work.

But what if I changed my perspective on it? What if I looked at my writing time as an opportunity to practice something that I truly love to do. To hone a skill, just for my own satisfaction? I’m my own boss anyway, so it’s not like I have to write to deadlines or anything. But I do have an obligation to my readers to write to the best of my ability, don’t I? So why, when I don’t have time or financial constraints, would I write for any other reason than to hone my craft and be the best I can be?

So that’s my plan. As soon as we’re settled in our new home and I’m ready to start writing again, I’m going to attempt to go about it with a different mind set. I’m going to try to recapture those early days when writing was something I was doing to fulfill my soul, not fill my bank account. And who knows, maybe that’s what it will take for me to write the “next great American novel.” 🙂

So, those are my thoughts for the day…I hope they’ve been inspiring 🙂 What do you think? Do you struggle with certain things because you think of them as work? Do you think a shift in your mindset regarding those things would help make them feel less arduous and more fun or satisfying?

GIVEAWAY:

Leave a relevant comment below, I’ll give you one entry in my super duper awesome giveaway! (Relevant means that comments like “Great post” or “Please enter me in the giveaway” do NOT count!)

What’s the giveaway, you ask??

Well, I have in my possession the entire DVD box set of A&E Romance Classics *gasp* *cheers* *applause* For those who aren’t sure what that entails, here are the deets:

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen’s Emma

A&E’s Original Movie Victoria & Albert

Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

R.D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone

Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe

and the Baroness D’Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel

But wait! There are more ways to win!! For every one of the following actions, you will get one entry in the giveaway…

Like me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Like TimelessQuills on Facebook

Follow TimelessQuills on Twitter

So that makes FIVE ways to win! Good luck, everyone!! I’ll announce the winner on Monday, August 20!