An earnest or strenuous attempt
This particular “Rule of the Dojo” is the one that I pour the most belief into. I pretty much live my life with the attitude that if I do everything in my power to get something finished, then the rest of the little things will take care of themselves.
I’m happy to say that this often happens. You can chalk it up to faith—I am a religious person-or karma or comeuppance or whatever, but it works.
Allow me to talk about my black belt efforts. I started Kempo at 25 years old. At the time I was about 120 pounds overweight, couldn't do a single lunge and the thought of running was, well, really, really funny.
I'm not fast at anything physical. My body doesn't like to be pushed, and my willpower quickly gives out. But if I can do it slow, things sometimes work out. I was always the distance swimmer on the swim team in high school. Sprints—not so much.
So it took me seven years to get my black belt. Some people can do it in two. I'd have to say five is pretty average in our system, if you're putting some good effort into it. I put effort into it, but not enough to move very fast. However, I always practiced and for the longest time I could remember anything I ever learned in class.
I recall on my purple belt test (4th belt out of 10 to black) my instructor said that I would get my black belt. Keep in mind, this was during the test. You know, when you get punched for thinking too loud or for not yelling loud enough. I laughed. Out loud. Really loud. I never had the aspirations of being a black belt.
But I just kept going to class. Every once in a while my instructor would send me to a test. I slowly gained ranks until...black belt.
Now it took me a long time, but I consistently put effort into it. And eventually I got there. I'm still short, I'm still over weight and I still can't do as many lunges as the young kids. But I did it my way, put my effort into it, and it all worked out.
The same principle applies to writing. Or anything else you're working at in your life. Put effort into it. Move forward. Even if it's just a little at a time. If you do, other things will fall into place. I've seen it happen in my own life, I've seen it happen to others and history is filled with success stories of people who “plugged away at it” until they got there.
Figure out your destination, keep your eye on it, and move toward it.