Yy: You You Are What You Practice

During April, I will be blogging about how creative people can practice their craft every day and what rewards will come from the daily effort.


Yy: You
You Are What You Practice

I used to teach a food studies course, and I would ask students about the claim, “You are what you eat.” Usually, someone would say, “Well, if you eat doughnuts, you’ll be round and fat like a doughnut.”

I disagree. It’s not so automatic or simplistic. So, I’d then ask them to think about their goals in life and their best, most happy and successful selves. Then, I’d ask, “Can you eat in a way that helps fuel that ideal self? Can food help you achieve your goals? Can that be what it means that ‘you are what you eat’?”

The same seems true about art, you are what you practice. The work etches itself into your skin, from callouses caused by gripping pencils tightly to sore shoulders from slogging around film equipment. However, practicing by rote, like checking chores off a to-do list, does not transform you into an artist.

It’s a long, slow, but steady transformation to become what you practice and requires devotion to and trust in the process. So, your mindset matters. Your intention matters. Do you show up to your work passively waiting Someone Of Authority to appear and deem you an Artist? I used to do that, whining to myself, “I’ve been writing for years and years,” and look around for the Fairy Godmother Of Accomplishment to deliver some sign that I had finally arrived.

Daily practice becomes most dynamic and powerful when you come to it ready: eager to tackle what’s before you, patient enough to abide the set backs, and in love enough with your craft to wholeheartedly celebrate the moments when your work comes close to matching your vision.

Practicing daily with a wide open, vulnerable heart, an engaged and agile mind, and limber muscles sculpts you into An Artist, maybe to such a fine degree that the rest of us see it in you (see X). Your creative focus shows in the way you walk and talk, and eventually, all of your life is an extension of your craft.

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4 Responses to Yy: You You Are What You Practice

  1. Rose L. says:

    From editing photos I have a sore butt! So maybe I am a pain in the butt! LOL
    Good article. I need to quit excusing myself from my writing and just do it!

    • TRISTA says:

      Ha!!! Rose, you just need to stop being so hard on yourself! You are a very talented artist, and you have at least three areas of creativity demanding your time: photography, poetry, and setting up your new home. Never mind that you work, too. So, any time you spend with your feet up and a cup of tea, cocoa, or coffee should not induce any guilt. Okay?!

  2. weebluebirdie says:

    So true. Art and eating are not so different from each other. It’s about having a holistic approach to living, and accepting that both take practice to learn what works for you.

    • TRISTA says:

      Another reader said something similar — that my posts about daily practice apply to life in general. I’d never thought about daily life and My Whole Big Long Life being something I could practice. I find the idea lightens up everything. Love this idea.

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