You’ve heard the old joke in which a tourist asks a musician how to get to the Carnegie Hall and is met with the response, “Practice, kid, practice!” The reason I mention it is that it contains a hefty dose of truth. Whatever your Carnegie Hall might be (a book contract, a starring role, a concert, a promotion…) the only way you’re going to get there is by keeping your skills honed and your ambition sharp.
If you’re a writer, some people say you should write everyday. I don’t think that’s necessary or feasible. Real life and the need to earn a living often intrude. But I think you should try to read everyday, if you can, as it keeps your brain in fiction mode.
And I guess the same would apply to artists or composers. You might not be able to paint or write music every day, but maybe take a couple of minutes to appreciate someone else’s work, just to keep the spark burning.
Art is a two-way process. In order to produce, we need to consume.
So, choose your Carnegie Hall and keep it in mind, whatever you’re doing. Every time you have to make a decision, ask yourself whether or not your choice will bring you closer to your destination.
And practice, kid. Practice.