Before I was fully committed to going back to school to kickstart a career that ideally involved writing, I joined a local comedy troupe to see if I was funny or just funny looking. Turns out I was a bit of both, and as a group we had a lot of fun.
Mike Vardy was one of the ringleaders of our group, the 30cent Players, and he told me something that really struck with me as a comedy writer, as a student, as a fulltime freelancer, and as a part-time author.
His words of wisdom:
In his defense, he never claimed to pioneer this concept, but it made perfect sense to me.
If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to put the time and energy into practising it. Every day.
Malcolm Gladwell hammers this home in his book Outliers; it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything.
If it’s something you want to do, you’ve got to put energy into it on a regular basis, otherwise it’s just another talent squandered. And the best part is, it doesn’t matter what you do. If you are good at something, you’re going to make it better by doing more of it. If you’re not good at it yet, you will be after you’ve invested enough time and energy. No matter where you are in your industry, you become better by doing it more. And the more you do, the better you’ll get.
You might not become the world’s best at whatever you do, and that’s OK. You will get better than you are today, and forward progress is a good thing.
Vince Lombardi has a great quote:
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
While this is true, it’s a bit unrealistic to think that you’re going to do it 100% right, right from start. And one of the beautiful things about creativity – there is no wrong way to do it.
Now go make something, and if you like it, share it with the rest of the world. If you don’t like it, share it anyways. You’re likely being too self-critical, and that’s not going to help the process at all.