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Riding the Learning Curve: before you can learn, you have to try.
Riding the Learning Curve: before you can learn, you have to try.

When Moral Hazard came back from my awesome story editor, it became clear that I love the word “try.” I used it approximately a zillion times. That manuscript problem has since been remedied, but I still adore the word and the idea behind it.

Here’s Webster’s definition of “try”:

to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something

: to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful

: to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it

“Try.” Accessed December 12, 2013.

For me, “try” encompasses the most important prerequisite of success. Before you can be successful at anything–whether that’s writing a novel, being a great parent, learning a new skill–you have to put in an effort, a real effort. Not just a half-assed attempt. Give it your whole ass. Put your whole ass into it!

It’s easy to think that if you don’t try, you can’t fail. And hey, that’s true. But if you don’t try, you can’t succeed either. And even if you really try and you don’t reach perfection right away, you haven’t failed. Maybe you tried NANOWRIMO and didn’t reach 50,000 words. So what?! You might have finished 25,000 words, and that’s 25,000 more words than you had before you tried. That’s a lot of words to build on. It’s also a great length for a novella.

Learning a new skill or taking on a major project requires more than one attempt to get right. You have to ride the learning curve. First, things are good, then they get worse, then they get better, and finally you get it right. But first you have to try!


  • Kohl’s has the greatest return policy. Yesterday, they allowed me to return a “shrink resistant” shirt that lost an inch in the sleeves after just two washes. Thank you, Kohl’s.
  • I painted my toenails today. I don’t know why. I never go barefoot in winter. But hey, my toes are now pretty.
  • If you have not tried a Lindt Excellence A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar, then you are missing out. On that subject, it’s best to try every food item Jessica Grey suggests; she’s never steered me wrong. Also, buy her new short story collection: Views from the Depths

6 thoughts on “Try

  1. Not just a half-assed attempt. Give it your whole ass. Put your whole ass into it!

    I prefer “put your shoulder to the wheel.” But that’s just because a full-assed effort on my part is pretty massive.

    I never go barefoot, regardless of the season but find that painted toe nails are spirit lifting.

    The chocolate bar is on my list.

    1. “A full-assed effort on my part is pretty massive” Bwahahaha! But now you can say you have an advantage over the “differently assed.” I don’t have enough padding to make my saddle comfortable…. That’s where the chocolate bars come in.

  2. “Painted toe nails.” Hummmm….sort of like red underwear? Makes you feel like a girl underneath the usual ensemble of rain-soaked work boots, muddy sweats, and Grandpa’s old hunting jacket stained in fifty shades of horse slobber. Does learning to navigate the cosmetics section in Wallmart without buggy bumping displays qualify as a ‘fashionista’ skill?

    1. It definitely counts in my book Alica! And you are so right. Horsewomen have to take their pretty where they can because we’re always covered in green slobber and mud. 😀

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