How Practicing Isn't as Bad as You Think

Creatives, when they start to make anything, they tend to feel a pressure of making something perfect.

However, practicing your craft is apart of the creative process. It allows you to sharpen your skills with your craft, experiment with new techniques and ideas, and will exponentially cut your time to make your masterpieces.  

3 Reasons Why Practicing Is Apart of the Creative Process

Reason 1: Practicing Sharpens Your Skills

Whenever you practice, you improve. It’s as simple as that.

This is the reason why many claim that it takes ’10,000 hours to master any skill’. In order to gain mastery over anything, time needs to be invested to get better at what that skill or task is. This is why babies struggle when they first start trying to walk, but by the time they reach their teenage years, walking becomes second nature. They practice the art of moving one foot in front of the other without falling flat on their face everyday.

The concept of practicing to improve could be applied to any craft, hobby, or skill.

Initially you’ll go through a phase where no matter how hard you try, the thing you want to create into reality is no where close to what you want. Your inner critic will call you a failure, but you must persevere. Then you’ll start to feel more ad more confident about what you make.

It’s once you start to feel comfortable and gain more mastery over your craft, you’ll encounter more roadblocks along the way. The more you know and learn, the more you start to realize what you don’t know.

By practicing you hone your skills on what you know and you stumble across what you don’t know as of yet, but can learn over time or with the right training.

Reason 2: Experiment with New Techniques or Ideas

As you start to realize that there is much more to learn about your craft, you could start to experiment. Your experiments could be either ideas that you are unsure of whether or not they work, or they could be techniques or concepts that you observed somewhere else and want to put into practice.

In the case of trying something new that you feel hasn’t been done before…

Think of the first person who must have thought of rollerblading. They knew how to walk well and wanted to figure out how to walk faster. In their brainstorming process, they probably figured, ‘hey if I add wheels, then walking can be easier and three times as fast’.

Since rollerblades were not created, it probably took the founder several times before coming across a solution that could turn that thought into reality.

In the case of observing something and wanting to replicate it…

Think of a child who sees their older sibling roller skate. They see someone turn walking into a different and speedier form of expression and transportation, so they want to replicate it. The first couple of times that the child tries to roller skate, they will stumble, wobble, and fall. Gradually they will learn how to skate. This process of practicing becomes faster with their older sibling teaching them, but they could also learn how to do it on their own if they are determined.

The concept of experimenting and learning can be applied to anything 

You could think of a way to dry your watercolor pieces by using a hairdryer and experiment by creating several pieces. It’ll either work on your first go-around or you’ll need to go through a few test sheets before knowing what setting you need to put your blow-dryer on and how far you need to hold it from the paper.

Or you could observe some artist on YouTube doing some new technique with copic markers. Perhaps they are able to blend two vastly different colors on the color wheel to create a seemingly perfect gradient. You will probably need to practice a few times before you too could start applying this technique into your artwork, or you will need to see if there’s a tutorial online that could break it down for you to cut your learning process in half.

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Reason 3: Practicing will Reduce Time to Create Masterpieces

Repetition will cut the time it takes to do anything.

Taking the example of walking, if you learn how to walk, eventually you will figure out ways to walk even faster without the need of tools (i.e roller skates). Your body remembers the way that you move your legs, your feet, and arms. This is called ‘muscle memory’ and many skills associated with creation can become muscle memory if you dedicate the time to practice.

  • This means practicing drawing the same shapes over and over again. Draw an entire page of circles or if you are more experienced, an entire page of hands.

  • If you want to get better with calligraphy, this means doing your alphabet until crossing your ‘T’s and looping your ‘L’s feels and looks natural.

  • Want to sculpt faster? Do more sculpting, make a bunch of cats out of clay and time yourself for each one. You’ll find that your 5th cat was made faster than your 1st.

This concept can work for almost anything. Repetition is what makes you better at doing what you do. You will get faster at repeating the same motions over and over again, and you will learn from any mistakes you catch yourself making. This is why sometimes quantity can overcome quality.

The more you do, the more you remember, the more you learn, and the better you will be.

What are some ways you practice?

If you practice your craft, I’d love to know what you do to keep honing your skills. Do you continue making complete pieces and learn from them? Do you do smaller exercises on a daily basis?

Each person has their own methods and definitions of practice and I’d love to hear what are your thoughts.