Got together with some friends last weekend, one of whom plays guitar. She's been playing since high school, and I was friends with her as she was first learning.
We had a conversation about learning and practice,and she gave me some great advice. The highlights:
* Practice at least once a week.
* Practice until you get tired. This is enough to to get calluses and build up stamina, but not too much to cause injury.
* Learning chords is good, but learning an actual song is better to help with changing between chords quickly. She suggested La Bamba or some Beatles' songs as good first songs because most songs are only 3 basic chords.
The brief conversation was very encouraging and motivating for me. It turns out that she was only practicing a couple times a week, max, when she first started out. It was really good to learn that I'm, more or less, on the right track, and that it may take a while, but my current practice setup is enough to build strength and proficiency.
So, that goal of playing at an open mike night sometime in 2008 may be realistic after all. Yay! Of course, if I choose a Beatles' song, it means I will have to learn the dreaded "F" chord (insert A minor chord here for dramatic effect).