Monday, October 17, 2011

Practice Makes Practiced

It’s one thing to have an idea. And another to take that idea and make a book out of it. And quite another to put in the time editing that book. And entirely another to do this numerous times.

We don’t expect rock stars to rise to fame in the aftermath of a single concert or Olympic athletes to garner worldwide attention from one game or one great day of stellar sportsmanship. No, instead we can easily surmise their songs or their sport demanded countless hours of concentrated dedication.

Same goes for writers.

This isn’t anything new. I’m not proposing a wild and crazy new strand of advice here. It’s an essential—a core truth for any and all writers to not just know, but adhere to if we aim to be published. Practice makes practiced and practiced is the kind of writer agents and editors want. It’s the kind of writer bound to develop sharpened skills while honing the craft.

And if we’ve gone the distance and cranked out more than one or two novels, there is a snazzy piece of advice I’d love to point you toward. Check out what Marcus Brotherton recently guest posted about on my agent’s blog regarding killing completed unpublished manuscripts.

Sometimes it seems like Kenny Rogers held the key to so many of life’s great mysteries. “The secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.”

I’ll say good-bye now and pretend not to hear you singing the rest of the lyrics to “The Gambler”.

Finish this: Practice makes ______________.

*photo by flickr
**I’m having a blast now on Mondays with my “I”s on ___________ (a new FB face every Monday), celebrating and uplifting those I appreciate.
Come see (mid-morning) who All “I”s are on this week!


  1. Practice makes progress.

    And yes, I am singing the Gambler. Thanks. ;)

  2. My first thought was practice makes perfect, but I prefer the term practice creates excellence. And you got to 'know when roll em, and know when to walk away.' :)

  3. Love this, Wendy!

    And I agree with your Practice makes practiced.

    My bball coach in high school always used to say, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

    Intelligent man. :)

    So we can write and write and write all we want, but if we're not perfecting our craft along the way, then that practice might not amount to much in the eyes of editors/agents/readers.

  4. Good advice and since I am working on my 6th one, I KNOW practice helps more than anything. I cringe when I reread my first, my second and even this one is far from where I want it to be!

  5. Practice makes...better. Hopefully. :D

  6. I was going to say "Practice makes better", but it looks like MK beat me to it. :)

  7. Such wise words, friend! My writing journey began over a decade ago. Thankfully, I can say "Practice makes published."

  8. Love yours and Jessica's! Oh and Lisa's!

  9. Practice makes commitment. yeah, I'll go with that one since I aim to be committed to succeeding in this writing journey and the only way to do that is to practice.

  10. Kenny Rogers earwig song...check.

    I like Jessica's. Practice makes progress. :)

  11. Practice makes perseverance. Does that make sense? :)
    I love Hebrews 12:1 and think of it often on my writing journey.

    "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition through sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

    I love Lisa's too! ;)

  12. Hi Wendy. I'm new to your blog (was referred by Katie's blog!).

    I'll go with a slightly longer version...Practice makes it so we're one step closer to our ultimate goal.

    You can't get to the goal without practice, like you and others have said.

    Like Lisa, hopefully I'll make it to that goal of publication, one comma, period, and semi-colon at a time!

  13. Practiced makes someone who's in so far they're not sure they can turn back--because what would they do with all those wasted years, otherwise?

  14. Practice makes practiced--I love that! My hubby tells me that to truly master something you have to spend thousands of hours at it {can't remember the exact number he always says:)}.

    Looks like I have a few hours left;)


  15. Wendy:
    Practice makes professional. Practice makes positive steps.

    I started a story back in the summer, I shared the information on a web site I belong to. I got pulled away from it. Lately, I've gotten several comments on my posting. I believe God is trying to tell me something, like, get to practicing.
    "Know when to hold them; know when to fold them." (I couldn't resist adding this.)

  16. Practice makes me devour chocolate at an amazing speed. :)

  17. Jessica, Yes, I like that...progress. "On a warm summer's evening..."

    Yeah Lynn, you make a fellow Gambler singer proud. That has a nice ring to it...practice creates excellence.

    Katie, Yeah Bball coach. Isn't it cool the lessons we learn along the way that can relate to writing? And thanks for doing what you did on your blog today!

    Terri, I was just thinking about that yesterday. I always want to look back and think of how much I've grown--in every situation, with everything.

    MK, Yes, that's something to hope on. ;)

    Sarah, You know what they say about great minds (great headshot btw).

    Lisa! Woo Hoo! That has to feel good to say!

    Tamika, I'm hoping on all of those for you someday.

    Eileen, Yep, nice one. Goes hand in hand w/ dedication.

    Erica, Does it scare you I listened to it a dozen times while writing the post? :D

    Heidi, I get it and it might be my fav. on here. I guess b/c I so get it. Hey, I cannot comment on your blog posts. Contact me or I'll try to get in touch w/ you to tell you how that might be fixed.

    Lindsay, I don't even know you, but the first impression you've left makes me want and hope for the same thing for you. So glad you are here! Here's to hoping you feel welcome here now and always.

    Jill, Spurred so many questions. Wasted years? Can't turn back? In so far? Okay, there are just three, but I'm thinking that's enough. You threw me w/ your comment.

    Mel, I'm with you. We'll keep plugging away and someday we'll be able to look at each other and call each other masters of the craft (and hopefully not laugh too hard b/c it sounds like something straight out of Star Wars).

    QS, Love that you sang! :D And I like both thoughts you added. Professional, absolutely and that would be the goal...positive steps.

    Karen, You make a woman proud!

    Thanks for sounding off (ha! the singing) on this one. Clearly, I've hit goofy mode, so it's time to wrap it up for me. "Know when to walk away" right? ;)

    ~ Wendy

  18. How about Practice makes patient?

    I've grown a great deal in patience, with myself and my work, by having to practice my craft.


Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...