Do the Difficult Thing

Things Writing Teaches You–Part 2

In many aspects of life, you’re faced with a choice—the easy thing or the difficult thing. difficultAs I write this, it’d be easy to settle in and enjoy a baseball playoff game. The difficult thing is to write the outline for my next story. A year from now, I’ll only be rewarded for choosing one of those options. You guessed it–the outline.

It goes much deeper than that though. Watching the baseball game is easy AND nobody grades me on it. If I write the outline, then write the story, and then put it out there for the public to scrutinize, I’m putting myself out there. Readers will grade me.

People might yawn. They’ll turn away. They’ll shake their heads. Mostly, they’ll do absolutely nothing. But one or two or a few might do something profound. They might weep or laugh or shriek.

And no matter which of those happens or how often they happen, I’ll be better for it. Because even if I fail to move anyone with that attempt, I’ll have moved myself. Forward. And pretty soon what used to be difficult–gets pretty easy.

Remember Robert Frost…

I shall be telling this with a sigh,

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by.

And that has made all the difference.

Choose difficult. Like the extra mile, it’s always the road less traveled. Succeed or fail, enjoy the feeling your choice brings you.

Part 1, Allow Yourself to Fail, is still here if you want to catch it.


6 thoughts on “Do the Difficult Thing

  1. Inspiring post, John. Try rereading the entirety of that poem someday. It’s actually about the road the narrator didn’t take.

    Your web presence is impressive. I have to take a lesson from it someday. For now, 1500 words a day is soaking up every free moment.


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