“Hey Mom! I can do a handstand. Watch me.” Hands go down, legs go up – almost a real handstand. “No wait! That wasn’t a good one. I can do better. Watch me!” And so it goes, over and over. All three of mine have done it, as all kids do.
There is joy in being watched. There is also merit in all the practice that goes on when no one is watching. For every handstand we saw Gabby Douglas do in the Olympics, I wonder how many thousands she did in the privacy of the practice gym? To get better at anything, you have to practice. And practice. And . . .
Somehow, it’s easier to keep practicing when you know someone is watching, cheering you on. There is something rewarding about getting immediate feedback, even if that feedback occasionally comes in the form of criticism. You have to know the good and the bad of what you do in order to improve.
I’ve realized recently that I’ve been doing a lot of “Watch me!” with my writing. Everything I write is open to immediate feedback – blog posts, sermons, newsletter articles, emails. I write quickly. It is immediately on display, ready and waiting for feedback.
“No wait! That wasn’t a good one. I can do better. Read this!”
It is satisfying to know that someone reads and/or hears what I write. It is rewarding (and yes, sometimes frustrating, too) to get immediate feedback. I am learning more about what I do well and where I need to improve. But to move to the next level, I need to do a lot more writing in the background. I need to work on longer pieces and practice new forms, and I need to do it without the instant gratification that my current writing practices offer.
I will continue to blog for pleasure and write as my work requires, but you may not see me here quite as often saying, “Watch me! Wait – this one is better. Watch this!” But I will be plugging away in the background. If you aren’t sure, feel free to ask me. Accountability partners are always a good thing. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll have something bigger to share that will showcase all the behind-the-scenes work.
Until then, I’ll be over here. Practicing.