Workables #9: Follow Your Practice Wherever It Leads

Your practice is yours. Follow it!

Workables #9: Follow Your Practice Wherever It Leads
Photo by Andrew Karn / Unsplash

We often fail to do the things we intend to do.

This is a hard truth when it comes to practicing our art. We have a vision in mind, but what we are writing, painting, sculpting, capturing today, well, it just isn’t that vision. It comes up short, it doesn't look right, it's not what we had in mind.

To be honest, this just happened to me. I sat down to write with one idea in mind. I had notes for it, I had a plan, an outline: I was ready to go.

Lo and behold! What came out was nothing like what I intended. Disappointing, to say the least. I missed the mark.

(Fun Fact: In ancient Greek, the word for “missing the mark” is hamartia…which we now translate as “sin”! Enjoy that piece of baggage...)

But the practice demands that we move forward. We can't sit here bemoaning this little sin we've committed. The way I see it, I’ve got three options:

  1. Get upset and focus on this failure.
  2. Rework the piece into what I envisioned.
  3. Save the original notes for another day, and follow this new piece where it leads.

Option #1 is unproductive. Focusing on our failures won’t bring success. Don't do this.

Option #2 is often the way to go. Rewriting, after all, is highly encouraged!

Option #3, though, is quite intriguing, too. Simply because I missed my original mark doesn’t mean what I put together was bad. It’s just different. Follow this new idea where it leads and save the other idea for another day.

This is exactly what I did. Option #3.

I'm not sure when I will get back to the original idea. But, the new idea, the one I followed? Well, you’ll be reading that in the next edition of Workables!


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