Marilag Lubag's Blog

Practice | February 8, 2016

Every single artist has a desire to be successful. Still, he or she needs to know about the learning curve.  People like Stephenie Meyer are more of the exception rather than the rule. More often, our path would be like that of Rick Riordan—teacher by day, author by night until we hit the bestseller list and write full time.

Just because you publish your first book, it doesn’t mean that it would be good enough that people would buy it. It would be hard work to learn the necessary skills and it could take years. Are you willing to put in the hours in order to succeed? To be adept at something, you need to practice.

If you want to be a successful artist, you need to learn two things: your craft and how to sell your products. While it was a noble thing to do to only improve your craft, not showing it to anyone wouldn’t help selling your work. After all, Van Gogh painted 900 paintings in his lifetime but only sold one.

Now, if you want to be actually successful while you’re still alive, you have to learn your craft and you have to learn how to sell. In order to do that, you have to give yourself permission to be bad at both. If you’re bad at something but keep on practicing, you would improve. If you don’t practice but dream of becoming a successful artist, this dream would remain what it is: a dream.

The time when someone isn’t famous is especially essential. This would be the perfect time to hone your skills. Whether it was with painting or with writing or with designing or with singing, a person who isn’t famous could make a ton of mistakes and nobody would care. But, if someone like Beyoncé or Kelly Clarkson hit the wrong note, everybody would judge them even though they did well the entire time.

The only way to get better is to practice. Every artist needs to put in the time in order to get better. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice rule was popularized in his book, Outliers. The point was that it took the Beatles 10,000 hours of practice to become the world class band that they were. Whether or not the 10,000 hour rule is true remains to be proven but the idea still remains—we need to practice in order to get better.

Every artist must practice his or her craft. Though each one of us had a particular eye for what looks beautiful and what sounds wonderful and what doesn’t, practice helps us hone our skills so that when inspiration hits, we would know what to do with the materials we had been given.

 

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