How not to hone your craft

How good are you at your craft?

The easiest way to get better at something is by putting in the time and effort, everybody knows that. You shouldn’t give up at the first sight of difficulty, you give up only after trying everything and exhausting all your options.

How long have you been practicing? Did you try watching a few tutorials or tips and tricks videos? Taking lessons or hiring a teacher? How about reading a few articles or books about your craft? Maybe join an online or offline practice group and make friends with others on the same journey as you?

Well, you know all that. We all do. It’s so stupidly simple, we hear it every time. Practice makes perfect, it takes 10,000 hours to get world-class at something. And yet, I still can’t believe how fast people give up, myself included.

Let me tell you a story of a time I tried to learn calligraphy back in my middle school days. It’s a very short and simple story, it goes like this:

One day in school, I picked up a brush pen and wrote a few words. They all look funny so I try writing some more and they turned out worse the second time. After a dozen or so attempts, I gave up and concluded that calligraphy just isn’t for me. The end.

Well, what did I expect? Perfect strokes after 5 minutes of practice? Absurd, and after concluding that calligraphy is not for me, I simply stopped trying and went on with the lessons, believing full well that I’ll never be able to write with a brush pen.

And of course, things turned out exactly the way I thought it would. Despite the many practice sessions and lessons, I never improved, not one bit. Same for my handwriting, but that’s another story.

Fast forward to today, I think I’m going to give calligraphy another try. Perhaps it is my newfound stationeries addiction but I’ve taken quite a liking to penmanship and calligraphy these days. And this time, I’ll do it properly.



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