No Pain, No Gain.
At some point we’ve all heard or been told this phrase countless times in our lives. Especially in recent years, when our economy, government, and even Mother Nature dealt us pain we often fear they’ll be no gain at all.
But this is neither a financial or political blog, this blog is for aspiring and emerging children’s book writers, but trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.
Just like the troubling times going on worldwide, and in our respective homelands, every man, woman and child faces their own trials and triumphs. But just as our predecessors survived and thrived despite The Great Depression, and two World Wars almost back to back, we’ll survive these tough times too, even though sadly many of us will recover far slower than others.
But while the modern phrasing of this now clichéd saying is most well known, it comes from an old proverb coined by one of America’s most influential voices, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who said in his Poor Richard’s Almanac: There are no gains without pains.
While this witty pearl of wisdom is mostly used in modern times as a self-motivator to physical fitness, it definitely applies to writers to further understand our craft, and sharpen it, like a hand crafted Chinese meat cleaver.
You’d be surprised at some of the common turns of phrase we still parrot today were first penned or made it wittingly candid by him.
“A penny saved is a penny earned” is another of his most well known quotes.One I’ve yet to master, but at least I’m not drowning in debt, and that was a ditch I nearly dug myself in, but now I’m in the black and intend to stay that way.
But Time is Money, A place for everything, and everything in it’s place, and even, Honesty is the best policy. They all came from the witty Doc Franklin himself, whose words no less true now as they were in colonial America, but despite all the ignorant prejudice and inequivalent among the American colonists faced with England, and even amongst themselves, imagine how scathing it could’ve been if we had colonial equivalent of television, Facebook, or Twitter? Can you say, “Social Death By Journalism?”
I’ll take Death by Chocolate instead, cake that is.
One of my favorite Franklin phrases is one I first heard in 2002-
“A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.”
Peanuts Charlie Brown I imagine would find much solace in that quote. I sure do.
What I gather this means is that it’s never too late to better one’s education, or build character, and integrity where previously there was none. Something I think all writers, but especially newcomers to the field like me, need to remind ourselves every day, minute, and hour we live and on the endless journey to improve our writing, for ourselves, and the readers we one day want to have.
Many wise and more patient writers than I always told me, the journey is more important than the destination. But I believe it’s too stark a message. Though I’ve come to see the truth to it. The destination is still important.
If it wasn’t, many of the truly joyous moments in our lives, both as a country, as well as individuals, would’ve never occurred. I hope Ben’s Words, and mine, bring you the comfort and joy I’m starting to find again.
I’ll leave you with my all time favorite quote from Dr. Franklin I sincerely wish all my readers and fellow writers can achieve in some form, for their sake, and for the sake of the future generations of wordsmiths-
“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
May the fantastic fauna be with you.
P.S: While I applaud Ben for his searing sentences that speak truths we often recoil against, but need to hear anyway, I feel sorry for dogs everywhere when he uses these loyal, brave, and playful companions as metaphors on the sins and frailties of human nature. But I did find one dog quote by Dr. Franklin that shows that loyalty. As an animal lover, whether the creatures of fact, or fiction, it was a quote I was glad to find.
Many Thanks, Ben. Many Thanks.