Hit Five Hundred Balls Until Your Hands Bleed….

It’s been four months since I wrote anything for this blog. Four months.

When I ask myself “Why?” and am really honest with myself, it’s because I have lofty goals for this blog. I want one million readers. And I haven’t been willing to do the work necessary to make that happen. Hence, the title of this blog.

It comes from a story about Gary Player, the golfer.  “Many years ago the legendary golf pro Gary Player was hitting balls off the practice tee one morning, and the first ball he hit went 280 yards straight as a bullet.  A guy in the gallery just within earshot said, ‘Man, I’d give anything to be able to hit a golf ball like you.’  Gary walked over to the guy and said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.’  The guy said, ‘Yes, I would.  I’d give anything to hit like that,’  Gary said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.  You wouldn’t be willing to do what it takes.  You have to rise early in the morning and hit five hundred balls until your hands bleed.  Then you stop, tape your hands, and hit five hundred more balls.  The next morning you’re out there again with hands so raw you can barely hold your club, but you do it all over again.  If you do that through enough years of pain, then you can hit a ball like that.’  Player won more than 160 professional golf tournaments and is a member of “the big three” — along with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer — who dominated golf through the 1960’s and 1970’s” (Bob Merritt, 7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow, p. 136).

I haven’t been willing to hit enough balls to hit like Mr. Player. What I mean is, I haven’t written every day as I originally thought I would. After about five months of writing sporadically, the blog had fewer than a dozen followers. I got discouraged. I gave up. I thought, “This (blog) really isn’t going to go anywhere. No one really cares about what I’m writing.” And, this was pure BS. There were a handful of persons who ARE interested in me and this blog to read each post as it has come out. The problem is, I wasn’t doing enough to grow the village to raise the child.

I made up stories. I saw a friend writing her blog about a personal tragedy in her life. She has more than 500 followers on her blog. What I didn’t think to research, is how much she’s done on other blogs she has. She’s been hitting five hundred balls for some time. So have many others I’ve met in such places as Triberr.

There have been other times in my life where I’ve had lofty expectations, only to let reality teach me otherwise.

I remember when I went back to the University of Missouri to go through the Photojournalism program, I thought I knew it all. Cocky as all get out. Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher in Angus McDougal. He was one of several professors who showed me what I didn’t know. It was an incredibly humbling experience. When I got to the premier course at Mizzou at that time, called, of all things, Photojournalism, Mr. McDougal taught the art of picture stories. How to tell a story through the use of photos, with the text of the story to elaborate the pictures. I had a pretty difficult time at first grasping this. To the point that one day, I walked into his office and told him I was going to quit the program. I think he was truly astonished.

McDougal sat me down and closed his door. We reminisced a bit about the past. Only a year or two before, I had been that cocky SOB who knew everything. He told me I had talent, I just need to be patient and nurse it. He could have accepted my resignation and laughed. He didn’t. He said with hard work and dedication, I’d make it. He gave me back my dignity and a reason to stick with the program. I did. I went on to have an ‘interesting’ career as a photojournalist. I made some really good picture stories at the papers I worked for. Problem was the cocky SOB was still running the show. I wasn’t a very good employee and got what many with the cockiness get – fired. But, I digress, that’s another story.

I want this blog to be successful. I don’t know if I’m willing to hit five hundred balls until my hands bleed. I want that, but I’m not sure I’m motivated enough to make it happen. As I’m writing this, I want to make a commitment to write a certain number of posts in a given time period. I’m scared to do that. I’m scared about a lot of things in my life. Fear has always played a dominant role in how I live. In some areas, I’m less afraid than I used to be. In other areas, fear still runs the show.

So, to the question at hand: I’m committing to writing three posts in the next two months. That’s not so hard. It felt good to say. Small steps. I see too many around me try to conquer their fear overnight. Including me. It didn’t develop overnight. Why try to battle it to the death overnight? Perhaps after I reach that goal, I’ll have the courage to take on a bigger goal. And then, a bigger goal after that. Maybe, just maybe I’ll get a million readers. And, if I don’t, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It just means I have to continue hitting more balls until I get the results I want.

What about you? What goals are you telling yourself you can’t/won’t do because……  Are you willing to make a small commitment to yourself to take a baby step. I hope so. I’d like the company.

How Am I Changing: I’m willing to own my fears and take small steps to get past them.

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9 Responses to Hit Five Hundred Balls Until Your Hands Bleed….

  1. Ron Nevelow says:

    Welcome back. I’ve missed your blog.

    One of the faithful dozen

  2. Ed Pincu says:

    Keep coming back, Donny, you’re worth 1 million hits.

  3. Good for you! Small measurable goals that you can achieve is a great way to encourage yourself. And one tip I am happy to share. If you want to get more and more followers, visit LOTS of other blogs and leave comments with a link back to your blog. It takes time but it will build slowly. And you might also consider the Networked Blogs app on facebook as another way to get followers through facebook.

    Carry on!

    • dreh15 says:

      Thank you, Willie. Your idea about visiting other blogs, may be the missing ingredient to a better recipe. I’ll also have a look at the Networked Blogs app on FB.

  4. LeRoy Dennison says:

    Donny, I admire your commitment to write additional posts. I, and the other Board members of our local ISPI chapter, promised to write one blog article a month for our redesigned website a couple of years ago. I kept my commitment for a couple of months, but could not get a single article out of the other Board members. The problem for all was twofold: what to write about; and, our jobs interfered with what we wanted to do when not ‘at work.’ All of us worked from home offices. I know that you can relate to this statement, “When you work as a consultant out of a home office, then there is no such thing as the end of a workday.” There are always things that come up “after hours” that we get drawn into.

    I hope that you “day job” does not interfere with your writing goals. Keep the posts coming buddy & happy birthday again 🙂

    • dreh15 says:

      LeRoy: One of the greatest comments, ever! I think I know what I’m writing about next. Stay tuned…
      I think the secret as my friend Willie says is small measurable goals..

  5. Pete Forman says:


    Keep at it, brother! I’ve got a fever, and it’s called flog the blog. You might consider entering a blogging contest for motivation. I just completed a 26-day challenge in April (OK, so I went over by a few days)… Glad to see you’re Ba-a-a-ck! Here’s my latest blog URL:


    – Pete Forman

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