The Magic of Repetition

People who can never seem to grab the brass ring are often guilty of nothing more than overlooking the basics. By basics, I’m talking about fundamental skills and activities such as time management, reading, organization, and developing an accurate perception of reality … the list goes on and on. But perhaps the most consistently overlooked basic of all is an innocuous little item called “repetition.” Repetition is how you become good at any sport, artistic endeavor, math, writing … just about any activity one can think of. We’ve all heard, many times over, the truism that “practice makes perfect.” Repetition is how I became a certified Microsoft Word expert. In the late nineties, I spent a year and a half writing a Microsoft Word reference guide, a project that required my learning, then repeating, every conceivable Word function hundreds of times. As a result of all that repetition, today I can perform most Word functions very quickly and without consciously thinking about it. My Word expertise is not because I’m a computer whiz, but because of the enormous amount of repetition I invested in the program. It’s the same with writing. I’d like to think I’ve improved a great deal as a writer over the past twenty-five years, and I attribute that improvement to having written millions of words during that period of time. In this regard, I often quote Mario Puzo, who summed it clearly nicely when he said, “Rewriting is the whole secret to writing.” An interesting paradox of repetition is that if you practice something slowly, you’ll actually learn it more quickly. I can think of...

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