For me, this was how I learned writing. This was also applicable when I was making my own music. This was also applicable when I was learning to program as my course of study. No amount of classes or lessons seemed to make me understand anything unless I put in the time myself actually doing it.
I have to put in the time. My skill at writing was mostly through hard work, I read a lot of guides, tips, but nothing actually contributed more than doing the actual work myself.
Well, to begin with, I never actually had much when I started writing. All I had as a fourteen-year-old was the internet, my phone, and a ton of time to blow. And at most, access to the library and books which I used to read.
It was way before I decided to look up craft books and courses. I did, some of them were helpful, others really weren’t.
It still did not beat me actually practicing it and learning it myself.
Because that is a sort of experience and time that no amount of advice can replace.
You can’t escape it. You have to practice, try, and continuously improve.
The advice can speed up the whole process, but it is only helping if you’re putting in all the work. That you’re making an effort to try.
And I didn’t really apply it to music. It was a rare case because it was one of the few times where I first took courses before I really got started. I had learned music theory beforehand, but it was only a full year afterwards that I actually did anything.
In which of course, I didn’t know what I was doing. And I found that I didn’t see most of the advice applicable to me at this stage. Where I was just trying to figure myself out as a musician and where I stood. (Since there is a lot of different places you can be, composers, songwriters, and arrangers, music technician, etc)
Just like writing — journalism, novelist, technical writing, copywriting, grant writing, etc — and programming — web developer, software engineer, data engineer, etc.
Programming was a rare exception since I have to repeat the year or any modules if I failed. That scared me into actually doing the work since my work was graded. But I only appreciated it more once I slowly started learning it on my own. No matter the results.
I had to experience it. I realized that it didn’t apply to me, and listening wasn’t going to help much. Actually doing will.
If you don’t do it, you won’t get anywhere. I can’t lie to you. Because it has been the case for me.
You have to get started. You can’t be taught.
And of course, to really get started you have to admit that you’re going to create a lot of terrible things.
I did, I have written five novels which I abandoned or reworked through countless rewrites. That’s not even counting the ideas that I wrote down, and then years later, I just look at it and then raise my eyebrow.
Also, my current works-in-progress has things that I’m less than pleased with, and so I’m putting it through the wringer to well slowly rectify them.
Even I’m not proud of some of my music, although there are some parts which I’m happy with and listening to it feels me with a sense of pride. But I’m not wowed away by it.
But it’s great when you look back at how far you’ve come. I was amazed at the skill of myself and how my growth had come. It had been a moment of embarrassment. But it also gave me the ability to look forward, seeing that I had come so far.
Because what can I do with more practice?
My creations would undoubtedly be better than before.
Because everything you create will be a learning process. It can be a success which you will grow to admire; a failure in which you learn. Or somewhere in the middle with room to improve, but you’re still proud of it.
It’s not even remotely easy to learn or know. It is going to be a long process. I’ve admitted it earlier. I have been continuously writing for four years and composing for about one year. I know that it will take me years of my life.
You have to invest time. It won’t come overnight.
Even two months on Medium with a lot of writing experience didn’t make me think that it would be a quick thing. All things considered, I did earn quite a decent amount for someone who was starting somewhat fresh with little idea of the tools available to me.
I don’t expect it to be easy. So I expect to take the time to learn and become proficient in anything.
And I do it because I’m passionate. Because I care. Because I want to.
I know that this won’t be a quick thing. I rarely expect that money will be made quickly.
Which was perhaps why I tired quickly of music and maybe programming. I was in it a lot more for the money than the passion. Then, when it didn’t come, t just made me wonder why I was doing it.
Now, I’m making because it brings me joy in a very different way. Programming is more of a side thing since I went to school for it, and it didn’t turn out so well. But I have enjoyed using the more logical side of me and testing the limits of my patience with it. And the curiosity I have with seeing how things we take for granted can be so complicated. Just as much as it can help to keep me from burnout because there is a lot less pressure than writing.
And so I know that I can’t run from practice. I have done if to get better.