Getting Better at Bad: Why Practice Doesn’t (Always) Make Perfect « Skelliewag.org

This link was pulled from my Delicious bookmarks in the writing tag. (Feel free to follow if you use the bookmarking service.) The post from Skelliewag talks about how practicing can sometimes make you oblivious to your actual improvement on a craft.

I’m a firm adherent to the belief that anyone can become expertly skillful at anything, if they practice intelligently. But it’s not enough to practice with repetition – to take 500 free-throws, or write 500 short stories, or play 500 songs on the guitar. If your technique isn’t right, you’ll be getting progressively better at doing things the wrong way, and helping to entrench habits that will hold you back from reaching your full potential with that skill.

She then gives an example on writing.

When writing, don’t simply try to write as much as you can, regardless of quality. Try to produce as much good writing as you can, putting into practice the advice and best practices that you learn. Don’t write things that you know contradict the expert advice you have read, for the sake of increasing your word count (often thinking I’ll fix it later). Every time you do that, you’re getting better at bad writing.

So if you’re feeling that you have reached a plateau in your improvement, you’re probably practicing the wrong way. Finding the right way to practice is just a matter of asking yourself some questions and doing some research.