There’s an old saying that “the first step is the hardest.” Don’t count on it. When you venture into a new world, whether it’s travel, or love, or a new business, or even . . . blogging, the very first step is likely to be over the threshold, and you’d better be prepared for whatever turnings your road takes after that.

If you check out the definition of the word, the first notation is probably something related to a stone or plank or piece of wood under a doorway. Well, that’s pretty clear. But you want to read a little further. The next definition: a gate, or door; an opening. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

It’s a basic trait of human life that we tend to put off activities that we think will be difficult or unfulfilling, especially if the action is likely to hold us up to ridicule. But in fact, that first step across the threshold opens the way to a new world, one of ecstasy and heartache, perhaps, although it’s more apt to be one of ease and annoyance instead. The extremes are there if we want to reach for them. Most of us simply stretch ease and/or annoyance just until it becomes a little uncomfortable and then step back toward that open door.

Ready for another defininition? How about a minimum or maximum point at which an effect is produced? This one is a little tougher. We’ve all heard about “pain threshold” and “tax threshold” and most of us are familiar enough with the expressions to think we know what they mean.

I think I’ll try to set myself a “writing threshold” just a little beyond what I’m accomplishing now. At the moment I’m in a comfort zone, slightly better than lazy but nowhere near fulfilled. First, I’ll aim for a bit of fiction each day instead of spitting out pablum for a blog. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m having a great time with blogging, but it isn’t getting any new short stories written. My new threshold, while somewhat tenuous, is to write to the point where I’ll feel comfortable sharing the day’s work with another person. This is a point I don’t reach easily (secrets being shared here) and I think it constitutes a reasonable goal. Maybe I’ll even resurrect a couple of the old stories that never made it past the first “what do I do now?” sentence.  If I do that, maybe I’ll share a bit of them here if anyone’s interested.

Do you set goals for yourself? Do you reach the threshold you’ve set or step back instead and wait for the door to open for you again? It will, believe me, but in the meantime you’ve missed a chance; the next time you step over you’ll be headed in another direction and you might not find your way back.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.