I think everyone’s heard it once and a while. Practice makes perfect. One thing that people forget to tell you when they throw that in your face is that practice….it isn’t easy! Okay, the act of practicing is easy. You get started and try the thing. Yes. That’s a very simple thing to do. What people fail to tell you is how uncomfortable it’s going be in the first few times.
I have a perfect example of this.
I started playing Rainbow Six: Siege (if you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen at least one tweet of me talking about it). For people who don’t know what that video game is, it’s basically a five versus five elimination first-person tactical shooter where one team is attacking, and the other team is defending an objective and you switch every round. The kicker in this game is that if you’re down, you’re out for the round. With your character taking the very maximum of 3 shots, you gotta be careful with every move. So, I started playing this game with my brother. He’s really good at it. I’m 150 hours in and I’m terrible. He kept telling me, just practice on your own this little mini-game that they have. The thing is, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to because what was the point? I was bad at the game anyway, so why try? I was so used to playing games that I was already good that I spoiled myself from learning something that I wasn’t. That was until I took his advice and started practicing. I’m not saying that I’m better overnight, but I can already feel myself becoming more comfortable with the game.
The act of practicing is scary. We are conditioned to believe if we don’t have a talent for it, we don’t need to work at it. The act of having talent is beaten into us from youth. You can’t help but compare yourself to other people that you are around. My brother has been playing tactical shooters since he was kid online. I only bought a PC powerful enough to play games like this a few years ago. Yet, I compared myself to him and his skills. That’s not fair to me. I gave myself time to learn and practice.
I think this is the case with writers. We get so caught up in wanting to be good, but we don’t take the necessary steps to make it happen. I’m on my sixth manuscript. My first three were terrible (readable and some people liked it, but they were terrible). They totaled to about a quarter of million words. They weren’t wasted. I learned my weaknesses and my strengths while doing it. Most importantly, I learned how to write every day and found my style. The truth of it all is that you aren’t going to be good at anything right off the bat. Even the people with talent in your specialty keeps at it.
So, whether you are a writer or a gamer, remember this: “Practice makes perfect but also practice ain’t fun. It’s scary at first.” It’s okay if you’re afraid to do it. It’s okay to struggle with the feelings of hopelessness as you start. You might get your butt beat. You might get annoyed at yourself. Take your time. Not everyone’s gonna be good in their first 150 hours of a game. Not everyone’s gonna be a novelist on their first manuscript (or 3…or 4…). You can do it.
Thanks for all the concerns last week about the hurricane. You guys are the best.
See you authors and operators next Thursday,
Deston “D.J.” Munden.
Started Duke’s Brand and Finished Chapter 1 (9/19/2018)