‘Practice makes Perfect’
‘Practice makes Perfect’ they say, but what exactly does that mean? Is doing something over and over again going to improve what you do? Maybe, but what if you are not doing it well? Reinforcing bad habits is not a recipe for improvement.
Repetition is definitely part of what we mean by practice and if it is just a matter of building stamina and pushing yourself for example in swimming or running – physical exercise – you can get faster, stronger, better at something by doing it regularly.
So why do athletes have coaches?
They observe their style, make sure they are doing the exercise in the most energy efficient way. They teach them skills and techniques to improve how they do it.
Writing is no different. Writing exercises to emphasise a particular skill, or focus on a particular aspect of writing technique, are designed to improve the way you write and the quality of your work. Many published authors, or indeed practitioners of any art form, know this and even successful professionals regularly practice doing them.
One of our members recently asked about joining a local writing group whilst in UK. The lady he spoke to asked him what we did in the one he was a member of in Lanzarote. He told her that we usually do a writing exercise and share and discuss what we have done and also the purpose and aim of the exercise.
Oh,’ she said dismissively.’we are a very different group. We are all published, or on the verge of being published.’
‘Well, I won’t bother to come then,’ he replied, thoroughly put off by her tone and manner.
Another member spent some time in Australia where at least she was made welcome in a local writing group! But, all the sessions consisted of members sharing a piece they had written for ‘homework’ and receiving single word or laconic comments from the coordinator. They were then given another title, asked to write and then read out their work before being given yet another, usually enigmatic, title for ‘homework’. She didn’t learn much.
There are reasons why the Lanzarote Creative Writing Group has been running for over ten years, and one of them is that the members feel that they are achieving something, gaining confidence as they build on their skills, learning from the prepared sessions and from each other.
See also Writing Practice
Category Advice and Info, Miscellaneous. Tags:Creative Writing, Attracting new members, Writing, Practice, Writing Groups