Practice Your Writing, Like You Practice Music

Jumping headfirst into the water has always been both a strength, and a weakness for me.  In 1978, I was in the fourth grade.  Following a life long dream, I raised a golden trumpet to my lips, boldly sharing the majestic sounds of the John Williams Orchestra playing the theme to Star Wars.  The old man next door, rudely interrupted my solo, when he yelled over the fence, “Keep it down over there kid, you’re driving me crazy blowin’ on that thing.”
Undeterred I continued on. Surely, the rest of the neighborhood recognized my talent.  Mr. Harris just had no taste.  Besides, I was almost to the best part of the song; you know the part where Darth Vader’s Tie-Fighter gets blown up by the Millennium Falcon?  Interruption struck again, when my mom called me back in the house to clean my room.  I would have to hone my skills another time.
Fast-forward thirty-three years.  Now, my goal is to write literature that is brilliant, complex, and beautiful.  However, learning to write is kind of like playing a musical instrument.  I’m trying to start with a complicated piece and play it perfect.  I forgot about practicing scales, tone, and timing on songs I didn’t even enjoy.  After years of practice I developed my skills enough to play what I wanted, but I didn’t succeed starting with the hard stuff.  Writing is the same way.  You practice on things you don’t really want to do, but these exercises develop your ability.  Soon you will know the craft, and be competent to write what you enjoy.