Practice & Potatoes

'Only by practicing do we get better'. I used to hate to hear that. As a kid I was always looking for a shortcut. 'Mum, how do I do roast potatoes as good as yours?' She'd show me her tricks (parboil 'em and shake them hard in the saucepan, then get the oil super hot in a roasting tin) but mine were never as good. Why? I think it was because I hadn't practiced enough, and maybe because I wasn't really wanting it. It was a idle praise from me or a quest for a shortcut, I wanted it the easy way. 

I now believe there is no shortcut. Love what you do, be passionate about it but put the fucking time in. Whether you want to be a writer, a metal guitar god, or maker of the world's best roast potato. Put The Time In! 

A kung fu acolyte tried to beat his master. He'd fight him in the studio, he'd ambush him when the guy was weeding his garden, but he never surprised his master. Finally in desperation he asked: 'Master, how many hours a day do I need to do to be able to surpass you?' His master pulled him up from the mud and dusted him down and replied. 'I'm never not practicing.'  When I'm cleaning dishes I'm learning the Tao, when I'm walking I'm aware of all that's around me, and when I'm gardening?' he paused for comic effect -'I'm always listening for young acolytes who are trying to creep up on me.' 

So with writing, I'm thinking about what people are really like when I talk to them. I'm not thinking (usually) about how I'll fit them into my stories, but I am alert enough to see that Taran, our kayaking instructor has his own business out in Sardinia, when he doesn't teach in Devon and that his wife made him paddle for an hour through stormy seas to Dartmouth because it was too far to drive.  If I write a little everyday in the evening then writing gets a lot easier, and if I'm alert to the world around me I'm usually a lot happier as a human being! 

Go Practice Young Wombat! 

Peace out! ✌️