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The Holy Chore

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NickP

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"The chief commodity a writer has to sell is his courage. And if he has none, he is more than a coward. He is a sell-out and a fink and a heretic, because writing is a holy chore."--Harlan Ellison

Or is it more important than that?
 
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Bernard Stacey

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I think any writer who regards writing as 'a chore', holy or otherwise, should be considering a career change.
 

NickP

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Hmmm - not sure I agree with you. Sometimes it's like trudging through dung, others like bleeding onto a page. I have to overcome reluctance every single time.
 

NickP

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In fact - as a useful but well trodden trick - I have to "give myself permission to write badly" to get going. Sometimes even "try to write as badly as I can" - which works well as i invariably end up writing as badly as I always do!
 
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Bernard Stacey

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Sometimes the words just flow and that's great, but often thoughts seem mired in treacle. At times like that going off at a tangent can be an effective solution to such writer's block (or whatever we now call it - I know some people don't like that term but still recognise the circumstance): for instance, writing a couple of hundred words about the childhood of your protagonist or putting him in a situation far removed from your story and just seeing what happens. It can be illuminating and open up wholly new avenues but usually gets one back on track. Even that is not a chore though as it can be even more fun than ones original project. Alternatively, I go to another project altogether - I tend to have several on the boil at any one time - and it's pretty rare that I can't think of anything to progress any of the dishes I have cooking.
 

NickP

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There's another (pretentious?) way to think of it - if it doesn't involve any courage, or commitment or effort - if it's all too easy - then maybe it is is not worth doing?

Perhaps that's just the lapsed catholic in me.
 

Robinne Weiss

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Any writer who finishes a piece of writing and shares it with someone else has great courage. Is it a holy chore? I think it's like any other endeavour--if you want to be good at it, you've got to sweat a little (or a lot). If you don't like to sweat, that's fine, but don't expect to produce a NY Times best seller. Me? I actually enjoy most aspects of writing. Some days I'm not up to writing new things, and I edit instead. Sometimes I can't bear to edit, and I write instead. Sometimes, I can't face the idea of marketing; other days I could conquer the world. But I work on writing every day. I sweat a lot, but it's not a chore in the sense that I don't want to do it.
 
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