The following is an excerpt from an email to the Unstarving Musician community.
I’ve been devoting more time to practice and writing lately. Allow me to share my thoughts on both.
Some of the best advice I ever received on practice was on how much to practice. How much time per week should I spend on my instrument? Well that depends and it does matter, but what matters more is the quality of your practice. This brings me to a short list of routines and habits.
- Keep a practice journal
- Keep a list of things you want to work, and refer to the list as needed
- Use a metronome app
- Alternate your metronome practice between sound on and off (apps usually work best for this)
- Commit to a weekly schedule
- Use a visual queue to remind you of your practice commitment
- Don’t beat yourself up for missing a practice. You know how to pick it back up.
Last week I shared a writing prompt website with you, but you can create your own writing prompts. The best advice I’ve heard on writing comes from Jerry Seinfeld. His advice is set an amount of time you intend to write, for example an hour. Then sit for an hour with pen (or keyboard) in hand. When you’re time is up, stop. Pen down. That’s your reward.
Here’s another short list of routines and habits.
- Use your phone’s note taking app to capture ideas on-the-go
- Set a side a best time of day for writing and refer to your prompts and ideas
- During your writing sessions, just write. Don’t edit.
- Consider writing a specific number of words or pages in each session (in lieu of for a set amount of time)
- Know that words won’t always flow onto the page
- Know that you’ll write a lot of crap
- Remember that amidst all that crap, something good will emerge. Work on that.