I was never particularly enthusiastic about practicing. Even into my grad school years, I probably spent more time every day creatively procrastinating and avoiding practicing than I spent actually practicing.
Case in point, one of the reasons why I was so well-read as a kid, was that reading was a parent-endorsed activity (vs. watching TV). I learned that being in the middle of a book seemed to reduce the frequency of reminders to practice, so I always had a book handy. Until they wised up to my tactics, and started hiding my new/favorite books during the day (a move I’d counter by re-reading books that weren’t quite so interesting…and you can probably see where this went).
But at the end of a long hard day of avoiding practicing, the guilt would be pretty substantial and I’d go to sleep feeling not so good about myself.
In the years since, I’ve learned that it isn’t just me that has experienced practice guilt. Whether it is musicians and practicing, athletes and training, or writers and writing, we all experience guilt when we aren’t doing enough of the thing we think we “should” be doing.
But we can’t be practicing 24/7. Sometimes we really do need a break. And even if we do have to practice, guilt-motivated practice, at least in my experience, isn’t especially fruitful.
So…what are some ways to deal more effectively with “practice guilt”?