Practice Makes Perfect

Between the ages of 5 and 10, I learned to play the piano. If I am honest, that is an understatement. I was one of the best not only for my age but intermediate piano players in the National Piano Guild. I got there because I practiced 2 hours a day, seven days a week. It was hard work. I mastered and memorized several challenging pieces.

At this point, you may expect to espouse the virtues of practicing. To the contrary, I hated it then, and I hate it now. Practice always takes the magic away. When you master a musical piece, you have conquered it. The awe and the challenge have disappeared.

To me, editing feels a lot like practicing. Your first draft holds all the magic. You are taking the story that is in your head and giving it life on the page for others to enjoy. Your first edit helps you refine your story. By the time you get to a 3rd or 4th edit, the story has become old hat. Surprises will still jump off the page, but most of the time you have visited this place many times before. The whole process can begin to feel like a Pink Floyd video. “Do it again.”

Of course, the outcome is always proportional to the effort. You become a better writer the more constructive criticism you seek and improvements you make. Much like the piano, all that hard work will change the magic into something magical. Hopefully, it will touch the hearts and minds of others the way it has your own.

I am left to admit editing, and practice, are worth all the pain and effort they take. However, knowing that does not mean I have changed my opinion about either. It might even mean I am taking a break from the last major copy edit of my book to write my blog today.

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