Steady Consistent Effort is the Key

Today, news broke of the passing of writer Tom Wolfe, who was one of my literary heroes.

For all his accomplishments and commercial success, one fact about his daily routine really struck me. 

There is no substitute for steady, consistent effort.  This is one thing that I tell my private students who are aspiring young musicians: practice everyday.  Does it have to be two hours a day?  No.  But the cumulative value of consistent practice is undeniable, and with the passage of a short amount of time, you can look back on your skill level at the beginning and be amazed at how much you have progressed in a small amount of time.  

The same is true not just in music or drumming, but in any endeavor.  One fact about his pursuit of his craft jumped out at me: He wrote every day, whether he wanted to or not.

Consider this excerpt from the NYT profile:

Every morning he dressed in one of his signature outfits — a silk jacket, say, and double-breasted white vest, shirt, tie, pleated pants, red-and-white socks and white shoes — and sat down at his typewriter. Every day he set himself a quota of 10 pages, triple-spaced. If he finished in three hours, he was done for the day.

“If it takes me 12 hours, that’s too bad, I’ve got to do it,” he told George Plimpton in a 1991 interview for The Paris Review.

Therein is the lesson, practice your craft, every day whether you feel like it or not, and it will pay huge dividends over time.