Do the work

So I got a tattoo today. It’s my 40th birthday, and so I decided to get myself something. Here it is, just after it was finished:


Yup, it sits on my inside left arm, where I can see it constantly. That’s the idea. This is 100% for me alone.

It’s about writing, sure. But it’s about more than that. It’s a general way of life. If you want something: You do the work. If you want to be a writer – you do the work. If you want to eat – you do the work. What the work is varies every time, of course. Sometimes it’s a bit on the “not much to really do” side. If you want to eat take-out, you do the work. You know, make a phone call for delivery.

If you want to write a novel, though, you do the work – and that means everything from research, to reading, to the writing itself, to editing and so on.

In life, everything you need to do takes work. If you want things you do that work. If you don’t want to do the work, for whatever reason, that’s ok, too! But then, chances are pretty high, you won’t get the end result you want.

Of course just doing the work isn’t a promise everything will turn out the way you want them too, either. But if you don’t try, you can’t succeed.

And that’s why it is now on my arm for the rest of my life. It’s a reminder to keep going, to put in the time, to dig in and do the work needed. It’s also a promise, to myself, that if I at least always try, I can fail and that’s all right, too. I did the work. Failure isn’t a bad thing, we all fail. But we should, hopefully learn from it.

Maybe we didn’t do the right work. Maybe we did the work badly. Maybe… the universe just wasn’t angled right that afternoon. Whatever. Failure happens and is perfectly fine. But you have to try. You have to do the work.

I’ll spend my life doing exactly that.

(Tattoo drawn by Valentine Barker and done by Historic Tattoo)

By Adam P. Knave

Adam P. Knave wrote this, but you knew that, since this is his site. That's kinda how it works.

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