I want to share some other people’s work today.

Let’s start with Alaskan singer-songwriter Marian Call. Marian and I have been getting together over Zoom every couple of weeks to talk about play and practice and problem-solving — and, in Marian’s case, the challenges of taking everything you know (or think you know) about a discipline and applying it to a new instrument.

(Marian has been a full-time performing musician since forever, but she only started studying the guitar a few months ago.)

We also play for each other, which means that I had the privilege of hearing Marian play her song “Equinox” a few days before she posted it online.

I’ve also had the privilege of watching Marian’s guitar playing improve with both time and technique — as she, in turn, has watched me become a stronger and more confident pianist. That’s the secret best part of these kinds of things: watching someone work their way towards specificity, mastery, and magic.

Which brings me to Alan Lastufka.

Two years ago, I helped Alan work through a draft of his novel (currently titled Don’t Forget My Face). I could tell you just how far Alan’s gone with his writing since he and I had our coaching sessions, but I’ll let him explain it:

If you decide not to watch the video (though you should), Alan’s writing has received honorable mentions in multiple writing competitions and is starting to get endorsements from leading names in the sci-fi/horror genre. Plus, he’s turning his writing into beautifully handcrafted print books and brilliantly crafted short films.

I love working one-on-one with writers, and I love it even more when the writers I coach or edit get freelance work published or announce their first books or book a reading at Iowa’s famous Prairie Lights bookstore — essentially, when they build their craft and their careers far beyond anything I could ever take credit for.

Because the thing about learning how to practice — whether it’s music, fiction or freelancing — is that once you make the deliberate, disciplined choice to continually improve your work, there’s essentially no limit to what you can create.

Especially if you tell yourself you have unlimited time. ❤️

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