Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moving Forward

I love learning.

My hope and intent is to be a life-long learner.

But one of the things I've discovered I need to learn is . . . how to apply what it is I've learned.

Every pianist wants to become a better pianist. When a pianist learns something new about fingering, or expression, or interpretation, they want to apply it to their work. But it's impossible for them to go back in time and play something differently than they played it a week ago. The "play" is finished. They must take what they've learned and apply it moving forward.

I learned the hard way that when you make an error when you're painting a watercolor, the error isn't going to disappear. You can't go back and fix it. You have to move ahead with what you've learned and work with what you've got. (My first-ever watercolor (above) is a wonderful beach scene with waves and colorful sky and that beachy-grass . . . and a pine tree on the left-hand side. A bird that was oh-so-bad turned into a pine cone turned into a tree branch. But it's framed and in our bedroom.)

How about what I learn regarding writing? It can be paralyzing. Rather than moving forward with what I've learned, I stop the presses, literally, go back full of angst, and attempt to redo everything. In a way, it's terrible that the option to rewrite even exists.

In the last week I've learned more about scenes than I knew the week before. My heart loves the new knowledge, even though there's this enormous chain that is tugging it under water with the perfectionist's need to go back and fix everything—even if it doesn't need fixing. As much as a heart requires blood (knowledge and excitement) pumping through it, it also requires air—the freedom to move forward. (Okay, so I don't know biology . . . but you know what I mean.)

I've decided to be the pianist for at least a day or two. To move forward with new learning. To not let it paralyze me. To let the new knowledge settle and attach itself to the way I work, becoming a fully formed, natural place from which to operate.

We'll see how far I get.

CR: Deception by Randy Alcorn.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I like this analogy. I seem to have used it so often with kids when they're upset at something going wrong. I never thought of using it with my own writing.

  2. It's amazing how much gentler we are on others, isn't it?

    I have moved ahead today. Feels good.

    I wish for you good feelings and forward steps.