Jes Raymond

& The Blackberry Bushes

The Art of Practice part 1

The Art of Practice - Consistency, Consciousness, Curiosity, Community

(Beware any blog post with this much alliteration. )

Practice is the key word to creative success. This is not news. Anyone who is good at something has done it alot. Here I am trying to outline some concepts to make our practice deeper and produce more work.

Consistency -

The single most important part of any practice- singing, guitar, writing, painting, meditating, running, you name it is consistency. It is the simplest aspect- just show up. But we all know it is hard too. Life gets in our way. Crisis comes in, takes over, and our intentions for the deep practice we are craving can't compete.

The most effective way have found to get past this- lower the requirement for success. Make showing up simpler. Our lofty ambitions get in the way. We have to break things down into the very next step, and so in order to insure that we have no excuses, we have to make the ritual, the routine that gets us through the door incredibly simple. For example, with singing, it is the warm-up. I warm-up every day. It takes 10 minutes. I have a routine on my phone. I use it to get ready to rehearse or perform, but everyday, at least once a day, I take my voice gently through the stretching that puts me in a position to work on the deep stuff. I don't always tackle the deep stuff, but I have a ritual of preparation that lets me make that choice without the obstacle of readiness in my way.

With writing, I am giving myself a 50 word goal. It is one paragraph. I almost always go beyond it, but one paragraph is all that is required to say I have shown up.

With art, I set a 15 minute timer and work on the project in front of me.

With guitar, I play through a set of scales.

I can make progress on many fronts by having small daily requirements. In one hour a day, I can show up for every one of my artistic loves.

One of the things that gets in my way is the setting. This is SO MUCH EASIER for me to do at home. At home, I can have my guitar out on its stand, my desk set up, my door that closes. You have to have a place where you can set projects up and return to them in progress without having to pack it all away every time. Set your space to reduce barriers, to make it impossibly easy to show up.

Commit to Consistency. (Ahhh! More alliteration!)