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Sunday, May 14, 2006

It Takes Practice!

By, Janet Rubin

My fifteen-year-old daughter, Chelsey, brought a strange, new companion home from school. I’m not sure if I approve of this fellow—he’s a loudmouth for one thing and very large.

Daily, they enter the house arm in arm, proceed straight to Chelsey’s bedroom and spend hours in a lip-lock. She can’t seem to keep her hands off of him. It’s starting to get on my nerves.

Wait! Don’t pass judgment on my parenting. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Chelsey’s new buddy is a tuba.

Her instrument choice baffled me. The clarinet she’d played was so nice, so compact, so…normal. The tuba was heavy and hard to play. But Chelsey wanted to play something “cool.”

Thus began the practicing.

One day a carpenter worked at our house, hammering while sickening tuba groans shook the walls.

“What is that?” he asked.

“Tuba practice,” I explained.

He shook his head. “Sounds like a dying hippo.”

Over several months, she’s improved. As Chelsey’s cheeks puff out and turn red, the tuba-bellows sound more like music and less like sea lions at mating season. In time, I’m sure she’ll be great, adding that special oompah that every marching band needs.

Chelsey has to play a lot of songs badly in order to learn to play them well. On our journey to publication, we’ll write things that are as painful to read as her songs are to hear. We’ll hit sour notes as we mangle grammar, structure and plot. The music on the sheet is like the story in our head. Getting it to sing on paper is the challenge.

Chelsey has one thing right. She is practicing, practicing, practicing (earplugs anyone?) If we want our writing to improve, we must be as intimately involved with our pencils (or keyboards) as Chelsey is with her tuba, giving it our best and being willing to get some bad reviews on the way.

A desire to write doesn’t make one a writer. Writing does. Practice is hard work—something the Bible encourages.

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Please help me to be diligent to exercise this gift. Give me a vision of what I will be in the future if I work hard. Thank You for all You are teaching me on the way.

Have dessert. You never know which meal will be your last.


  1. Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I really like this devotional, Janet.

  2. Great devotion, Janet!
    You know, thinking about how hard on the ears hearing a beginner tuba player might be makes me all the more appreciative of friends willing to read a beginner's writings!

  3. That is SO funny! Tubas rock ;)

  4. Amen to that...Practice, practice, practice!


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