That Practice Makes Perfect Thing

When people start writing, it is common to think, “I can’t be a writer. I am not nearly as good as Stephen King/Ernest Hemingway/Toni Morrison/Fill-in-the-Blank, so why should I even try?”

Watching “How to Be a Writer” videos or reading/listening to those types of books, the common refrain is, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Of course, we all know this. I remind myself of this often.

Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74

Queen Live at the Rainbow 1974

So as I was chilling after a long day’s physical work in my room, I turned on a Queen concert I had not seen in its entirety – their Live at the Rainbow in 1974.

Queen was fully formed in 1971 with the addition of John Deacon on bass, added to Brian May (guitar and vocals), Roger Taylor (percussion and vocals), and Freddie Mercury (vocals and piano). So, this concert, the Queen II Tour, was a mere 3 years into their formation and it was their first tour.

And it shows.

Watching it, I smiled at the (for lack of a better word) immaturity of their stage presence, their cohesiveness, and even the way the songs sounded. Each song in their set sounded similar compared to the massive diversity of later albums. They were also decidedly slower compared to later years. “Seven Seas of Rhye,” was especially slow compared to future concerts. (“Stone Cold Crazy” definitely picked up the speed of that show.)

By the time I saw Queen on November 4, 1978 during their Jazz Tour, they were an amazingly gifted band whose show was incredible. In those four short years of practice… in the studio and on tour… they had become monstrously great.

Moving forward even more, by the time they were at Live Aid in 1985, they stole the show from dozens of seasoned bands and singers. That was only eleven years after The Rainbow show.


Queen Live at the Rainbow 1974

Looking at the speed of their progression, I think about my own writing. Has my writing advanced in the last eleven years? Have I practiced enough? Do I practice enough?


I am buoyed by having watched Live at the Rainbow ’74. I see what a great deal of desire and practice can do for an artist. I want to be an artist. In order to do that, I need to get my ass writing again. I’ve not written since October 1, 2022… the day after NaNoWriMo ended… and I’ve sporadically done a couple of edits on the book that needs to come out.

Side Note: Editing is HARD!

Forward Movement

Queen Live at the Rainbow '74
Barb Writing 2008

I wrote my 3 Pages this morning. I am finishing this post. I will do my best to do a bit of editing, even if it is just for five minutes.

Onward, Ho!

Cut-Up Writing Technique (Thanks Bowie!)

I have easily read 100 books about writing on a wide variety of topics:

  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Technique
  • Tools
  • Strategies
  • Planning
  • Timing
  • Zen and Ethereal
  • Practical
  • Meditative

…and goodness knows what other topics I’m missing.

Writing Cut-Up Method

David Bowie’s Cut-Up Method

Well, it isn’t quite David Bowie’s, but he famously used it.

I do not have one clue how I’ve missed this writing idea, but if I’ve missed it, others probably have, too, so here we are.

William S. Burroughs and painter Brion Gysin developed a variation on a collage, but for writing. Starting with pulling words out of a hat, it has now evolved to using random cut-up word generators online.

Pieces of Words

You can choose words from anywhere. Books, magazines, your own journals, thesauruses online, dictionaries, ads you see on the side of the road… anywhere you see words, write them down for your cut-up sessions.

Once you have them, literally cut them up. One word or thirty; random numbers of words would be my style.

Writing Cut-Up Method

Arrange Them… Randomly

Just pull the words out of a paper sack or a Crown Royal bag, put the words down in no particular order and voilĂ ! You are writing!

Writing Cut-Up Method

Head Start for Writer’s Block

If you are having a hard time thinking of something to write, this is the method for you to try. It is fail-proof! You can throw a handful up in the air and let them fall down like confetti and go from there. The options are endless in how you can do this wonderfully random trick.

Let me know if you have done this before or might give it a try.