Saturday my son had a piano thing so most of the day was taken up with that. It was a regional competition and if you scored well enough, you could then go on to "State" and compete for the coveted "All State" title. He played six pieces total. Two hymns, two folk songs, and two classical pieces. To be eligible and move on to State you must be rated Superior by the judges. And color me excited, but he was! On all six pieces. So, he could compete for All State if he wasn't over the age limit.
But I'm still proud at how far he's come. He taught himself to play the keyboard we bought for my daughter. I'd taked lessons when I about 16 so gave him the basics of reading music and he did the rest. Within a couple weeks he passed by my two years worth of lessons and within a couple months he was filling in at church when our regular pianist was missing.
This is his fourth year of lessons. I figured if he was going to keep at it, then he needed help with some techinal stuff. He's competed at the "State" level twice and was rated Superior both times, he's now the official fill-in pianist at church and tomorrow night, will be his instructor's "spotlight" student at some sort of regional thing for instructors. (They bring their best pupils, let them perform and then bask in the glow of their students greatness.) I'm very proud of course.
It took him a LOT of practice to play this well. And even now, he still practices at least 2-3 hours a day. Scales, chords, whatever pieces he's learning as well as pieces he's already learned.
And here's where this relates to writing. We have to practice too. We must...it's that simple. If we don't, we won't improve. When I look back as some of my first pieces of writing, I cringe. They weren't that good. Sure they showed promise, but they needed work. Work that at the time, I didn't have the ability to do.
But just like my son, I've practiced. I've taken some lessons, read some "how to" books then practiced some more. I've been practicing for a little over eight years and still have a lot to learn. I don't expect improvement in my craft overnight. It'd be nice but I'm not holding my breath.:-)
So, I want to encourage each of you, take time to practice your writing. Block out some time each day just for yourself. And don't be discouraged if it's hard or improvement doesn't come quick. To become a master at anything, it takes lots of time and lots of practice. Writing isn't any different.