What happens when I stop practicing

What happens when I stop practicing? First, I get rusty. Then, eventually, I wouldn’t be so good at it. Then, I forget that I was ever good at it. That’s what happened with my writing. Unlike painting and drawing, writing did not become painful as I grew older. The joy in writing grew as I grew older, at least the entire time I was in school. It didn’t matter whether it was in Japanese or English, I loved to write compositions and reports. I loved the process of writing, reading what I wrote, making corrections and adjustments, then reading, repeating the process over and over until I felt like the work is finished.

I’ve recently started reading On Writing Well by William Zinsser to improve my report writing skill. The moment I started reading it, the book reminded me of the English classes in high school days, the English classes I loved so much.

The grammar lessons, learning new vocabulary words, writing compositions. I loved them all! And I used to take pride in myself for the understanding of English grammar, having good range of vocabulary, writing neat compositions. What happened after not writing seriously for 25 years is that I have become unsure of English grammar, forgotten half the vocabulary words I learned, and I dread writing any sort of work related piece, report, letter, or e-mail.

Like learning to ride a bicycle, I haven’t forgotten altogether how to write. But like everything else, sports, cooking, arts, any practical skill, once I stop practicing, I am going down hill.

The feeling started to come back since I started writing into my blog last February. The feeling started to grow, and by reading <span class="underline"On Writing Well, I have come to realize what happened. One great thing about this re-discovery is that the feeling of enjoyment in writing came back. It doesn’t matter if the language is English or Japanese. I know what to do now. Keep practicing. Don’t stop.

3 thoughts on “What happens when I stop practicing”

  1. Once you have reached to some height of any practice, you have developed neural connection in your brain through the learning process. Through releasing neuro transmitter chemicals at the end of dendrites, neurons comunicate to each other. When you are not practicing frequently, those neurons taking rest from passing signals to the next. But even during that time the connections remain.

    Re-discovery of practicing is an interesting process. It is a process of re-triggering your neural connections and make them release neuro transmitters again. However, I could say it is still probably faster than learning completely new things.

    I’m on reprogramming of myself over ten years I guess, but the temporary result looks like patchy. Ah yes, I mean thinking in English and controlling oral communication skills. I hope it won’t get downhill.

    BTW downhill was fun when I rode my bicycle in Alaska two years ago.


  2. Hi gt! Great to hear from you! I’ve visited your blog and looks like you are as busy as ever.

    Reading your comment, I remember you mentioning about “place specific memory”. Was it explained to you by a professor of Syracuse University? I’ve been fascinated with the neural science ever since I’ve read Complexity by M. Mitchell. Edward O. Wilson’s Consilience is great too.

    I finally got to meet your cats through your blog! They look like cats straight out of comic strips or paintings. Were they trying to go on a trip with you when they made themselves comfortable in your suitcase?


  3. some way I happen to be managing six blogs. it’s a bit crazy but likely reflecting multi-personality problem of me : )

    ah yes, that thought on “State Specific Memory” was from neuro scientist Dr. David Warner currently (supposed to be) at Syracuse Univ. it could be places, views, sounds or anything that are bound to the memory.

    That cats picture was from 5 years ago. I’ve been traveling a lot and I know they didn’t like me traveling abroad. I think my cats wanted to go with me. When I openned the case to start packing, they all came into to fill the space. Anyway, a few years later I had to see two of them departing.


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