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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Doing the Hard Thing

I first saw the auto commercial that tags itself with the phrase "the hard way" during the Superbowl. I never quite understood that. The hard way in craps is a pair. "Eight the hard way" is a pair of 4s. When I was growing up, the term was used to differentiate between the hard way and the smart way. It was always the foolish kid that did it the hard way. "Work smarter, not harder" was even tossed around at nearly every stage of my corporate careers. But the car ad would have us believe that the hard way is the better path, like the road less traveled or the straight and narrow.

I often do things the hard way. Sometimes (often) I find out after the fact that the task didn't need to be that hard. If I had known how to do it in the first place, it would have taken much less time. If I had kept using a mouse instead of getting a touchpad for my computer, I'd still be moving bezier points around in my Freehand drawing rather than moving on to creating marketing material and a storefront.

What I have more difficulty with is doing the hard thing. We all have hard things that we need to do. And interestingly, they are all different. For me, making a telephone call is a hard thing. Perhaps the hardest that I'm ever called on to do. The DW uses up 1200 minutes a month on her cell plan while I use 25 or 30. Most of those are incoming calls from the DW. I sit in my office with a stack of filing in front of me that has been there for 3 weeks. But it is easier for me to sort through the stack everytime I need something than it is to file it and know exactly where every item is. It's a hard thing for me to set up a storefront to sell my books, even if it seems like it should be easy.

But it is the hard things that probably spell the difference between a successful release and a flop. I constantly remind myself that I can't indulge in endless editing of the graphic files, or in tinkering with the design of the pages to get the proper kerning to the 50,000th of a point between letters.

I was once told that it takes two people to paint a masterpiece. One to put paint on the canvas, and the other to hang the artist. At some point you have to consider the work "finished."

And that's the hard thing.
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Please, please tell me to STOP EDITING NOW...