In a few weeks, I’ll be performing at a concert for the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music. Every day I sit down with my dulcimer and run through the set, practicing each piece and trying to program my fingers – and my musical mind – to play everything without effort. It takes a lot of effort to make it look as if I'm doing something effortlessly.
It occurs to me that this principle applies to writing as well. Inspiration strikes, and we dash off our exciting ideas in a story or poem, using all the writing tools and skills we’ve collected over time: skills we've practiced over and over, every time we write. We gaze at the finished product in pleasure – but is it really a finished product?
No. When I come to the end of piece of music, I very rarely think that I played it to perfection. And when I come to the end of a writing experience, I just know I’m not done. I need to revisit, rethink, revise, rewrite. I need to rehearse that written piece over and over before I get it right.
It takes time, energy and commitment to be a musician - or a writer. Practice may not make Perfect, but it certainly helps!