In Malcolm Gladwell’s words, writing is the easiest part.
As a non-fiction writer, we assume that writing is all he does. But he explains how the hardest part is the preparation – to find a interesting topic, pore through books in libraries and archives, interview the interesting folks connected to it and finally stitch it together in the captivating narratives that he is renowned for.
For a professional guitarist, playing a song on stage is the easy, exhilarating part. What is excruciating is the hours of practice she dedicates to mastering scales, developing her sense of rhythm, jamming with fellow band members and arranging compositions that capture “their sound”.
Arguing in court isn’t what lawyers do for the most part. They research the case, consult with their client, look for precedents, pore through legal tomes, strengthen their case against obvious refutations and spend hours in constructing cogent arguments for the judge and the jury.
Good programmers don’t write a single line of code until they have understood their task, designed an elegant system to solve it and strengthened it against obvious exceptions.
There is more to every profession than the salient parts that we see. When you’re considering a profession, be sure to ask around about its hardest parts – the ones that happen behind the scenes.