Bad Advice Wednesday: Practice, Practice, Practice

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour



At big college reading recently a very tall and bristly young man loomed over me with my new book in hand. He wasn’t buying it, he was just holding it. “Is it worth it?” he said.

“Is what worth what?” I said.

“Is it worth it,” he said.

I knew what he meant. “Well, it’s been worth it for me,” I said.

“Because I’m writing a book. Trying to write a book. And I don’t know if it’s worth it.”

“Well,” said Bill, “What is it you’re hoping for?”

“A book. Like this.”

I said, “Okay. I get it. And obviously I think it’s worth it.”

“The only way to learn how to write a book is to write a book, unfortunately, and sometimes, those first books are apprentice books, the ones that teach you how to write the books that will make it all worth it.”

Honestly, the kid was almost in tears: “So you think I’ll get there?”

“What do you think I’d be saying if you were asking me whether you could be a concert pianist?”

“Practice,” he said.

“Practice,” he said.

“Practice,” I said.

And the sunshine broke out on his face.


  1. monica wood writes:

    No shortcuts, sonny. Ass in the chair.

  2. Roseann Fitzgerald writes:

    Such a hopeful way to end your post — “and the sunshine broke out on his face”. Thanks so much for this reflection and love the picture of Carnegie Hall!

  3. lucinda kempe writes:

    One graph at a time! Great shorty!