PROMPT: Do you believe that practice makes perfect?
This quote generates all sorts of considering and sorting and restructuring, leading me to ponder my perceptions of Practice, Progress, and Perfect.
Practice. Progress. Perfect. What constitutes enough Practice? How do I effectively measure Progress? How do I define Perfect? How many words on the page are enough for the day such that I feel that I made progress on my novella? Should I edit as I write or leave that for another time? When will I know that the book is perfect and ready for publishing? Where within the art of writing are my feelings of reward and self-actualization? When is enough enough? When is very little a new measure of bliss?
I play music with someone who once gently corrected me when I said that I felt like I didn’t have enough time to practice during the week. Jerry’s response: “Try not to think of it as practice but think of it as playing. Play music. Don’t practice it.” I will always remember his wise and profound words, as they turned me around into a new way of thinking and feeling and being. My music changed after he said that to me. Like a recalcitrant mule that doesn’t want to head north up the trail, you sometimes have to walk it in a circle once, or even twice, to reconfigure its level of cooperation. I can’t count the times I have seen this work — the mule will move up the mountain with an open attitude. Jerry spun my perceptions of Practice into a celebration of Play. He opened my attitude.
We don’t stop to evaluate Play when we are in the midst of celebrating fun. We don’t measure Play’s progress or outcome levels. And I cannot ever recall trying to decide if I was Perfect enough at Play. What would happen if I chose to see my writing as Play? Would I continue to consider it a discipline or schedule it as a priority? I think not. By allowing myself to enter into the Practice of Perfect Play, the moment is mine.