Practice Makes Voice

You cultivate your own World through your own taste.

Sterling Silver Bacchus Pendant Discovery
Simply, if you love art, you might be in the process of creating art. If you’re a musician, you might be in the process of picking up a guitar to learn folk music –because you love folk music that much. It speaks to you. You’ve listened to John Denver and Annie Lenox a thousand times and you’ve said to yourself, “I can do that. I want to do that. I want to get up on stage and play that.”

Theory & Practice
Eventually, your creative endeavor, whatever that may be, engulfs you and manifests itself. You evolve, nurture, and explore it within that self-assigned practice. You seek teachers, like-minded students, attend concerts, watch, absorb and allow it to fill you up. You know good taste. You’ve seen it. You’ve discerned it through critiques, public and private. You can talk about it with passion and aplomb.

Now, you even call yourself an artist.

As Ira Glass explains in Storytelling #3, there is a gap that happens, it’s natural. It’s a gap that occurs just after you begin to explore the relationship of that creative endeavor against the taste world you’ve cultivated. This is the part where you’re trying to create the product that doesn’t quite reach the potential you’ve come to expect. You practice and practice and practice and still, you’re making crap.

We all go through this. Yes, even me.

It might last a couple of years and, I know, I know! You don’t think you have a couple of years, you want it (insert need here) now!

Deep breath.

Resist Quitting Yourself
Don’t stop. If you want to become the next Annie Lenox, don’t stop. I will concur with Ira by saying that in the beginning, we all go thru this gap together: The Crap Stage. Unfortunately, this is where most people quit themselves. When taste doesn’t match up, resist quitting yourself. If you don’t really care about making a success –a public success– out of what it is you currently endeavor, then stop. Quit. Move on.

If you are passionate about pushing thru this crap stage, keep going. No one is going to do this for you -only you can. You play your own tune in the noisy bars where you think no one hears you, to the quiet bars where all ears are listening. Keep playing, you’ll find your voice.

Practice Makes Voice
I’ve got work that remains in my studio and cannot bear to throw it out, cannot bear to show it, much less sell it, but there it is. It sits around the studio as a reminder of where I started -where we’ve started. Andrew and I epitomize what Ira coveys: The more we make, the more we play. The more we play, the more we understand what works and what doesn’t.

We’re on the eve of mastering this ‘thing’ (as Ira aptly states) and I’m here to remind you that we all started from the same place. We have to recognize that we’re all human and in order to achieve that level of success within that taste world we’ve cultivated for ourselves, we have to push through that ugly, awkward phase of our development. Remember our teens?

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes better. Moreover, practice helps you make your voice.

In what stage is your voice? We’d love to know.

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8 thoughts on “Practice Makes Voice

  1. creativegoddess says:

    I wished I had learned this [mantra] years ago. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t living up to my potential, much less, friends/family potential even tho I was working like a dog.

  2. Penny says:

    Excellent points, all! Like Jean, it speaks to me (and my crap! of which i have entirely toooooo much)! Sometimes the wisest words are found in the simplest phrases🙂
    thanks!
    – p

  3. Brillig says:

    Yay! I am not alone!!! I move in and out of this phase every time I explore a new technique or medium. What I find amusing is that periodically I’ll put an item I’m **not quite happy with**into my shop, fully expecting it to be there weeks from now unsold…and miraculously someone walks in and falls in love with it within a few days!! That never ceases to amaze me.

  4. Michelle says:

    I can relate to Brillig…very often the thing I’m not loving, but which is still “good enough” to display is what sells, and I’m amazed, too. I chalk this up to the perfectionist in me which cannot see the good while looking for the ideal…yet another hurdle to overcome for those of us on the creative journey.

    Excellent post, Lisa!

  5. creativegoddess says:

    @Amy – It’s much like an or… a sneeze! You’ll know it when it happens.

    @Brillig – Sweet! Sounds like you’ve mastered the ‘what not to say when selling your work.’ Sounds like I need a storefront, too!!

    @Michelle – The Perfectionist is judge, jury, & executioner. Fire her!

  6. Amy says:

    Great post! I love learning new techniques, but that always takes practice, so often it’s easy to just fall back into doing what I already feel comfortable doing. When things aren’t turning out quite right, it’s easy to put it on the back burner and stick to what I know, thinking I’ll get to it later. This post is a good motivator… I’m reminded that I have some crap I need to get back to. I guess it’s also time to pick those drum sticks back up… never got past the crap stage with those🙂

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