I had a tinkle on the keys. Not these ones, but the piano kind. I would love to play more often, but with my husband working at home, the time is limited and I prefer to play in an empty house.
I play. I don’t practise, no repeating of tricky passages until I get it right. I skim over the difficult notes and charge to the end. I don’t perform either. I’m a solitary player and selfish too. The flute is my social instrument, the one I practise and perform, but rarely play. Weeks, months go by without my flute being assembled except at practise sessions with my flute group.
The three P’s – play, practise and perform. Play is about the pleasure, practise enables improvements and performing is the sharing.
Now I’m a writer I find those same P’s come to bear in a different way. Before I contemplated publishing I wrote in much the same way I played the piano. A selfish, solitary activity and with my own pleasure at heart. Then I began to work with editors and other authors, and from them I’ve learnt to improve and focus on my strengths and address my weaknesses. As for sharing, I’m moving into the realms of publishing, which is just like performing. It’s about exposure, putting ideas and thoughts on the page and hoping others will enjoy reading them as much as I have in writing those words. It’s risky. Have I practised enough? Do I keep editing indefinitely and never take the plunge.
The play part of writing is a safe haven. I need never seek to improve or share, I can hide behind blogs and bury my manuscript on my laptop, in the same way I only play the piano when nobody is around to hear me. Eventually, I will have to make the decision to tackle the third P. But not yet.