I mentioned in my last post that I’m back at school. Not having been in the school system for the majority of my life can make for some interesting situations, unusual conversations, and some pre-existing notions about what I am and what I can do.
I home schooled my whole life, until Year Eight. Then I went to a Christian private school, and then decided to homeschool again for Year Nine. I’m in Year Ten, now, and I’ve gone back to said school.
In Year Eight, I was a huge perfectionist. See, being a homeschooler, I had no idea what was expected of me in my schoolwork, so I did everything with gusto. I filled in my worksheets as quickly and as detailed as possible. I did my homework as extension in class. I memorised (as in word-for-word) the answers I’d need for my tests. It was exhausting.
As a result, you can imagine the other kids got a pretty interesting opinion of me. You know. THAT person. The smart one. The snobby one. The teacher’s favourite. The one who gets the highest test score.
Coming back, I’ve kind of still got that reputation. And while there are much worse reputations to have (such as, the person who’s mean, the person who’s boring, the person who smells bad…), I know it could be a lot better. It gives me a lot of pressure, though. Because the way my mind works, if I don’t live up to everyone’s expectations, I feel like I haven’t done my best. It’s complicated, I know, but this relates to writing, so bare with me.
To maybe 75% of the class, if you said, “Describe Jemima in one word, what would you use?” They’d say, “Smart.” But this isn’t true. I mean, I’m not stupid. But I’m not good at everything. I just work really, really hard. Take maths for example. I hate maths. It’s hard. It’s confusing. The person who invented negative numbers should’ve been shot before it became common classroom teaching. But I don’t do badly at it because I work REALLY HARD. And people then assume that, “Oh, she’s good at maths, too.” WRONG.
I think it’s like this for a lot of people when it comes to writing (like myself.) I know there are people out there, and words drip from their fingers and turn into golden rivers of amazingness. (I would say this is the case for Cait, though she’d disagree, humble thing.) Me, on the other hand, “She walked along, then closed the door and sat on her bed, thinking.” Yeah… it takes work. And practise. And a lot of writing. The longer I go without writing, the dumber my sentences sound. The more I write, the more proud I can be of them. It’s all in the practise.
I know. Practise. Seriously. The whole concept is trite and cliche. Practise makes perfect. Blah-blah. Whatever. I know talent does play hugely into who’s successful with what they’re doing, and who’s not, but even more than that, it’s the hard, dirty work that gets you were you want to go.
For me, that’s doing my maths homework, writing something every few months, and practising my flute all the time. For you it might be drawing every afternoon or running twice a day, or learning your Latin verbs. (Maybe not so much.)
Writing or anything else. Practise doesn’t make perfect, but it sure does help.