Practice [Micro Flash Fiction]

in fiftywords •  last year 

Made in Canva

As her brush splashed across the canvas in hard strokes, it smeared the paint into new shades. She stepped back, inspecting her poor re-creation.

Not good enough. Nothing like the original.

Chewing the wooden handle of the brush, she reached for the palette once more.

With practice, it could be.


Any creative knows the process of practice and the striving to (near enough) perfection as we each define it. Some of us have the ideal of perfection placed on a higher scale, while others recognise the flaw of such an ideal and lower that scale. As an artist and a writer, I can say I fall into either at times. There are days when my idea of "good enough" rests in that perfect ideal, and other days when "good is enough" is in itself close to perfection.

Finding the balance between those two extremes is as much a challenge and skill to master as the creative work itself. And frustration comes easy when the balance is fleeting. But the key to both skills—and this is something we know yet often forget—is practice. Like any skill, applying effort to understanding and developing it is necessary. This applies to the skill of balance particularly.

I reached a burn-out not too long ago when I failed to practice the balance of the extremes. And my crafts suffered for it. I dare say the lack of practice has noticeably regressed the progresses I had made in my crafts, and now it’s time to compensate for time and effort lost. To catch up to where I would have been now.

And I believe this practice of balance applies to any aspect of life. Slow down when needed, progress when needed, and re-evaluate where “good enough” and “perfection” meet. But always, and always, practice.

And this is my motivational for the day. It is good enough, for me.

This little piece of inspiration was, in turn, inspired by @jayna's Fifty Word Challenge where the prompt this week is “shade”. I encourage every writer—starting out or professional—to join in this fun but challenging initiative.


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A good story and backstory, the latter arguably more valuable than the story itself.

It's a tough balance to maintain a standard in the all the things you want to be good at in life without burning out on it, or just getting sick of it in general.

Some things are worth pursuing to perfection, and other things simply are not, and the journey is more valuable then whatever result lay at the destination. Good enough, in those cases, is exactly that.

And I like your story too :) I can really see the artist sitting there, lower lip out, blowing her hair up with a puff of frustrated air, sighing.

Thanks, Neg! You nailed it here. Results. And perhaps a small need within ourselves for instant gratification that pushes the fragile balance off.

A burnout is unlikely to cause a real regression. You have lost some "muscle memory" and things feel a bit rusty, but you've done nothing to damage your understanding or internal editor. Give yourself some space, and ask for hand holding when you need it to get going again, but I am certain you have not lost things, as you have not practiced in ways that build bad habits. You just weren't fully functional. We can help each other.

Thanks, Bex. The encouragement is greatly appreciated. Slowly gaining back that muscle memory so, yeah, not regression despite it feeling that way. On the up side, at least catching up will refresh my mind as I re-acquaint with what I've learned this year.

Anike, very nice and preemptive. could not resist responding in kind

She came to life, painted in hard driving strokes across the vast canvas of her mind. Colors melted turning into a rainbow river flowing into the gorge.

It roared, twisted, turned, hissed and fell into a thundering well of silence.

Frozen for eternity unless the brush resumed its vermillion stroke.

Thanks, Adarshh. I'm glad it has inspired you. You've painted what if feels like to be stuck at that moment rather well.

I really liked the description of her chewing her brush while lost in thought. I had to work hard to stop biting the back of my pens in frustration so I can relate lol

Thanks, BlueTeddy! Ditto on the biting and chewing. I still catch myself doing it when I'm deep in thought. Some habits are so difficult to break that it seems like a pre-programmed and natural thing more than a habit.

A great message transcends this piece of writing... With practice or patience (the two can be synonymous), we can succeed and overcome great obstacles in this life.. Sometimes we need some "hard strokes" and "new shades" to see the wood for the trees... It can give us a new perspective, and used in the right way, can actually enhance our creative style, as it allows a slight tangent or maybe a large tangent... Tangents are good... Life would be very boring without them :o)

Haha, indeed so! Sometimes these hiccups and set-back can prove to be productive in its own way. Retrospection is never a bad thing.

I liked this micro story.

The moment seems to repeat ad eternum. The message seems positive (practice makes perfect line of thought), notwithstanding, in my own interpretation, the text presents us with one interesting human myth: the impossibility to re-create anything.

We're in that sort of limbo, where you spend a lifetime just trying hard while irrevocably wrong.

Loved it, @anikekirsten ♥ Forgive my pessimism regarding human talents--but hey! I’m perfectly happy being this imperfect ☻

(Coming back to upvote when my hurt VP bumps up in a couple of days.)

Great message, @anikekirsten! I think we would all love to create beautiful artwork or poetry or fiction on the first try, or with minimal effort, and it's just not possible. The great artists and writers make it look easy because what we see is the finished project. But that wonderful creation was the result of hard work and lots of practice!