Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Practice Every Day

Below is an excerpt from a post from Steven Pressfield's excellent blog which has to do with art and writing. Mr. Pressfield is best known for his books, The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire. Every bit of the post applies to our martial arts practice.

If you want to be good, really good at something, practice every day.

The full post may be read here.

It was 1990-something.

I was working in a small mom-and-pop publishing house just down I95 from Health

Communications, the publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

My boss wanted a series just like that.

Think of all the possibilities. Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul. Chicken Soup for the 12 Year Old’s Soul. Chicken Soup for the Chicken Soup Hater’s Soul. Chicken Soup for everyone!

I can’t remember if my boss told me this or if I read it in a magazine or heard it on the radio, but around that time, either Jack Canfield or Mark Victor Hansen said something about doing an interview a day, or scheduling something every day—or just doing something every day. (Murky, I know . . . Getting old is a hateful business).

Point was: Do something every day.

Stuck with me.

Back to 2019. I watched Amanda Seales’ “I Be Knowin’” special on HBO last weekend.

Part of her routine hits on how hard it is to go out in the evenings when you’re older—especially when all you want to do is curl up in bed. It’s a funny bit.

Reminded me of authors.

Very few of the ones I’ve known have wanted to do interviews.

They want to write.

They want to eat in their own kitchen, not in restaurants on the road.

They want to sleep in their own beds, not in hotels, motels, or the Holiday Inn.

They aren’t interested in any of it, but they know they have to do it, and they have to get into the mood.

Back to Canfield and Hansen—or whichever one said do something every day.

Think about interviews, or networking or whatever it is that helps share your book just as you might think about losing weight or saving money.

You don’t have to do a lot every day, but you have to do something.

Something. Every day.

So what is that something?

This is where it gets frustrating—and where I get angry at sites that have all the answers for how to launch a bestseller.

There isn’t one plan that will yield the same results for two different people/books.

I can give you a long list of books that, at their core, were launched the same way (minus some tweaks here and there), and they didn’t all hit the bestseller list. Part of it is the author, part is the topic, part is just what’s going on in the world. I’ve known authors who were wonderful authors but awful speakers, authors who looked the part and had little to say and authors who weren’t “camera ready” and got little play because they were rough around the edges. I’ve had an author bumped because a plane was landing without all of its wheels and another author bumped because, yep, another plane story won out.

A few weeks back, I wrote about what does always works.

That’s where you have to start.

From there, look at what your favorite authors have done and make it work for you.

Adjust it a little every day, but do it every day.

I know. It’s not your thing. You want to write. Trust me. A little every day.

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