Practicing Quality

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I stopped writing daily and I lost my voice. I'm focused on getting it back.

When I left book editing I had to write for a year to find my own voice again. I'd been so used to helping authors find their voice that I'd lost my own.

I found and honed my voice and then was able to write four books in a little over a year. People responded well. They liked the style. They loved the content.

On the other hand, I needed to spend more time working in the field I was writing about. When you teach and write about programming, you tend to write small toy apps. I needed to take time working on a big honking app with a real client. I've been teaching and working on this app since March.

I haven't been writing much and it shows.

Cellist Yo Yo Ma said, "If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it."

So I am writing regularly. I mentioned yesterday that I'm using prompts from strangers to join in when they begin a 60 minute writing sprint.

Part of practice is to help the mechanics of writing fade back out of my way so I can focus on getting my thoughts down effortlessly. But practice in writing or in music is more than just mechanics.

He also said in an interview with the New York Times "Mastering music is more than learning technical skills. Practicing is about quality, not quantity. Some days I practice for hours; other days it will be just a few minutes."

Show up. Focus.

Whether you write for an hour or write until you're done with a topic doesn't matter. Turn off the tv. Stop checking Twitter, Facebook, and email. Engage in a quality practice session.