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Could anyone offer some similes for a strenuous activity.

The context is that: you can have all sorts of great ideas at random times and random places but

"when you actually sit down and make an effort to come up with a good idea it’s more akin to [insert simile for something strenuous or difficult]"

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trying to push a camel through the eye of a needle. – Jim Apr 13 '14 at 1:37
@Cynapse trying to find a penguin in the desert. – Elian Apr 13 '14 at 1:49
This question appears to be off-topic because it's effectively "creative writing advice" if we're specifically not being asked for set phrases/cliches. – FumbleFingers Apr 13 '14 at 3:40
I don't consider many of the answers cliche as they are not commonly used in my experience. However I understand your point. I will remove that stipulation from my question as it is a bit contradictory in a pure sense. – Cynapse Apr 13 '14 at 3:50
I just edited. Is that better? – Cynapse Apr 14 '14 at 20:03
up vote 2 down vote accepted

nailing jelly to a tree

like nailing jelly to a tree adj. Used to describe a task thought to be impossible, esp. one in which the difficulty arises from poor specification or inherent slipperiness in the problem domain.

  • Also used in variant “to a wall”
  • In AmE, jello or Jell-O is used instead of jelly.
  • In BrE, jelly is used instead of jello.


Actually, some people even tried to nail jelly to a wall:

enter image description here enter image description here

Source: http://graeme.woaf.net/otherbits/jelly.html

It is like ideas slipping away...

These are related also:

  • getting blood from a stone (also get blood out of a stone)
  • catching/capturing lighting in a bottle
  • tough row to hoe
  • devil of a job (or devil's own job)
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Very nice response. Thank you. – Cynapse Apr 13 '14 at 3:39

A one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest - Rowan Atkinson

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Lighthearted? Self-menticide -you did say lighthearted ;-)

Aprosexia Inability to concentrate.

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+1 for teaching me a new word lol... o wait i dont have enough rep to +1... :/ – Cynapse Apr 13 '14 at 3:00
You need to get over your aprosexia -In other words: sh@t, or get off the pot – Third News Apr 13 '14 at 3:07

Like herding cats, which got a segment on Mythbusters and was found to be significantly more difficult than the proverbial like catching a greased pig. (That episode also tested the similar like trying to put ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag. They do not test herding rats with a blowdryer. I should also note there was a great cat-herding commercial during the Superbowl during the dotcom boom.)

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