There’s a Sherlock Holmes line that gets repeated in nearly every adaptation verbatim. It’s a note from Sherlock to Watson:

Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.

They always find comical ways to make the letter are at the most inconvenient times. And Watson does always come right away, out of loyalty and curiosity (though often tempered with a fair amount of annoyance ;)).

But I’ve been reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories for the first time because of a roundabout chain of events. Seeing Dr. Strange on a flight led me to rekindle my curiosity in the British Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Comparing this two personas embodied by the same actor highlights one of the most fundamental aspects of Marvel’s success (in both the new movies and the earlier comic book revolution brought about by Stan Lee in the 60’s): the heros, matter how super, are incredibly fallible, emotional, and prone to lows, disappointments, sadness and betrayal.

They have to be extra human for people to relate to them even though they are extraordinary.

And this is accomplished, for the most part, by making them endure all many of absolutely terrible, often heartbreaking stuff. But that’s where Sherlock Holmes’ famous line comes in. When they have something they must do, they must do if if convenient, but even–and especially–when it’s not.

Whenever you push through what is easy and do what is hard, what is inconvenient, you make small heroic choices, even if you don’t feel like your actions (staying up an extra hour to get working done, or installing a Facebook blocker until you get that e-book written) are earth-shattering or saving.

So whether you’re trying to:

  • balance writing time with family time in the summer and feeling like you’re losing at both,
  • find ways to grow your income but feeling like you’re constantly following the siren’s call of the familiar (but unpaid) world of working on your own blog,
  • get that first pitch out the door,
  • understand what your pitches aren’t landing while avoiding asking yourself hard questions about how much time you’ve really put into learning to do things the correct way, or
  • decide what exactly to spend your time on to finally earn what you need to from your freelance writing…

…remember that whether you’ve made easy choices in the past or shouldered more than your fare share of struggles, even new decision once again gives you a chance to do the inconvenient things that move your story forward.



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