This past May I finally took a calligraphy class.
You see, I’ve been wanting to learn for years but everything else was a priority. I'm proud of myself for making that first step but I must admit, it feels a bit odd being a beginner at 42.
I don’t really know why I feel that way.
I was an beginner at web design in 2008 and somehow that seemed much more natural. It was an evolution along a similar, familiar work/career path.
Maybe it has to do with the tools?
As silly as this may sound, using a nib and ink feels more scary than using a computer to design. Calligraphy has permanence. Once the ink hits the paper, it’s there. There’s no command-z!
But the process, the creation of each part of a letter and watching the ink bind with paper is magical. It feels more tangible.
Still, I have so many moments when It feels awkward starting from scratch. I get frustrated and impatient.
- When am I ever going to get to a place when I can write words?
- When will I ever get the pressure of the ink to be consistent?
- When, when, when?
Christie reminded me that practice doesn’t have to be for hours; that just 15 minutes a day is a good place to start.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and JUST practice. Write a's over and over, b's over and over etc. Practice one word, one sentence, all lowercase, all uppercase, mix it up. This helps steady your hand, figure out ink issues and get into a groove.
- IF you get into a groove, continue. If you are getting frustrated, or distracted, stop. It’s better to have 15 minutes of FOCUSED practice time VS. an hour of frustrated haphazard practice.
Practice and share. Practice and share.
I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work and this truly resonated with me: “Look for something new to learn, and when you find it, dedicate yourself to learning it out in the open. Document your progress and share as you go so that others can learn along with you. Show your work, and when the right people show up, pay close attention to them, because they’ll have a lot to show you.”
So, here I am showing my work, my progress even though I believe it to be oh-so-dreadful. It isn’t good enough.
What was it that Ira Glass said?
I’m going to take his advice to ‘[not] quit’ and apply his encouragement to ‘do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work.’
So, here are my beginnings.
What about you? Have started something new recently? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments!