Does Practice Really Make You Perfect?


Practice is the best of all instructors.
   - Publilius Syrus
Practice makes perfect is an old saying that still holds true. Recent studies have shown that those who practise tasks repeatedly become highly proficient and are then able to perform with ease and efficiency. You could be an author, a musician or someone trying to learn tight rope walking. If you practise long enough, you’re bound to get good at it.
The key is to keep on practising, even after you’ve mastered it, because every time you do it, you learn something new.
When I was younger, still a child, I was introduced to the magical world of books. I was instantly drawn, devouring any book that came my way. Growing up, I was exposed to different genres and as a result my love for books kept growing. As a result of that I became interested in writing.
Soon I was writing letters, essays, and short stories. I discovered I had some talent for this and continued to write. The first time I saw my work in print -- it wasn’t a work of fiction -- but an advertisement I had written for the agency I was working with at the time. I still recall the joy I experienced when the client gave a go ahead. I couldn’t sleep the entire night and early next day, I didn’t wait for the newspaper boy to show up. Instead I went out and bought my own copy. It was such a high to see my work in the paper. Its been a few years now since I have been writing and I still feel the same joy when I see my work in a magazine or a book. I still get the same rush.
Every now and then I pick up something I have written in the past and compare it with something I have written recently. I don’t even have to go way back. I pick up something written a month or two ago and I can still feel the difference in my writing. There is a noticeable change in the quality. And I wonder to myself, “Did I really write this?” Why? Because I practice writing almost every day. It’s like working on a particular muscle in your body: biceps or triceps. Only if you keep lifting weights regularly, will you reach the ideal shape and tone you desire. If you stop visiting the gym, the muscles will become loose.
Now coming to today, I have published my short story collection. My second book is on the way. I have been published in several literary magazines and short story anthologies. I had a desire to become a writer. But I didn’t just keep talking about becoming one. I worked for it. I wrote. And when I kept writing, I got better. And when I got better, my work got published.
I want to go further as a writer. Maybe win a Pulitzer or a Booker someday. My writing journey has only just begun. I also feel I can never learn everything there is about writing. It’s a continuous process. Every time I read something, or write something, I learn something new about the art. Whether I am writing a short story, a novel or a nonfiction piece, I immerse myself completely into it. Writing needs a lot of practice. Only then can you become a confident author.
Similarly, everything else requires practice in order to reach perfection. So, whatever it is you aspire to do, practice is your only true instructor. Practice and you shall become perfect.

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