I am trying to describe the development process of some of my work for conference proceedings. We took laboratory research and adapted it for classroom experiences. A metaphor that came to mind was "out of the frying pan and into the fire" however this seems to emphasize the difficult nature of the starting and ending places rather than difficulty of the process between them. What alternative expressions would emphasize the difficulty of the process between to places?
a tough slog, or a long, tough slog or, to be more positive, a tough slog, but rewarding
slog, from The Free Dictionary means:
v.intr. 1. To walk or progress with a slow heavy pace; plod: slog across the swamp; slogged through both volumes.
- To work diligently for long hours: slogged away at Latin.
v.tr. 1. To make (one's way) with a slow heavy pace against resistance.
- To strike with heavy blows.
n. 1. A long exhausting march or hike: a slog through miles of jungle.
- A long session of hard work: an 18-hour slog in the hay fields
We see that a slog is by definition difficult and long. A tough slog adds emphasis to the difficulty and a long, tough slog adds emphasis to the prolonged nature of the slog.
Examples of tough slog and long, tough slog
From The Hill
Why Ted Cruz faces tough slog in winning over New York
From The Washington Post
The Democratic primary is going to be a long, tough slog. And that’s just fine.
Finally, I think you need to say that the experience was positive. Thus, my suggestion is a tough slog, but rewarding, or a tough slog, but worth it.