Delightful Drudgery

Three cheers for the delightful drudgery of the writing life!

Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip, hip… what was that? Hit the brakes, Hemingway.

Wouldn’t delightful drudgery be an oxymoron? Yes, I suppose so but I can’t think of anything that more perfectly describes the process of putting words on a page.

Writing is delightful.

Writing is drudgery.

Writing is delightful drudgery and I’m equally familiar with both.


I know the drudgery of wearing the letters off my backspace key waiting for a sentence or two to show up that’s even a tad worthy of remaining on the page. And I know the delightful feeling of having thoughts tumble out until they almost seem to be writing themselves. Yet another irony of the writing life is how often those two experiences meet in the same bottom-in-chair sessions.

But, here’s the thing. I’ve decided we’re the better for it, that the delight is sweet precisely because we’ve been given the gift of staring that drudgery down, and we can’t have one without the other. And now, I’m not just talking writing anymore…

Someone once said that life is mostly about showing up. Maybe. That might be true, if voting present is the ultimate goal. But for any who want more, God gives opportunities not only to show up to life, but to put our heads down and our shoulders to the plow of whatever tasks He has given us. Not once, but over and over again we’re blessed to ignore the barren landscape and accept the drudgery that feels futile–until that day.

Until that day the seed of our very hard thing germinates and begins to sprout and we pause to wipe our brows and glance down, only to stand shell-shocked at the early shoots reaching up to meet us.

Isn’t this delightful drudgery thing something like what Christ did when He wrapped Himself in our skin? He showed us how to do the everyday things, day after day, until that one glorious day when He set everything right and reconciled us to His Father and ours on the cross. All those days He spent traipsing this earth in dusty sandals was worth it to Him because He knew He was up to more than what the casual observer could see.

This is what lights my word fire. When we refuse to begrudge the drudgery, we get to taste the delight.

Tell me about that hard thing you’ve stuck with that brought delight when all was said and done?

4 Replies to “Delightful Drudgery”

  1. Aloha Shellie,

    Ahhh … those sweet moments! Mine are few and minor compared to yours, but I do relish them. They are addictive. I spend days scribbling, scratching out, typing, erasing, and reading aloud – all in the mere hope of another moment.

    I am somewhere along the writer’s road. Not exactly sure where, sign posts are rare; the last one I saw said to start blogging. I did and now I can say that everyday somebody somewhere reads something I have written. For a poor boy from the south of Louisiana that is heady stuff.

    It seems that many writers blog about writing, and attract a following of writers. I decided to blog about golf, my day job, and see if I could attract a following of readers. I quickly discovered that blog posts are a genre in itself. I think I’m getting good at it. The blog is at if you care to look, I would value an opinion.

    Is it working? I don’t know, but I will endure the drudgery of blogging and writing articles and stories in the faint hope of another sweet moment. I am addicted.

    A Hui Hou,

  2. Thank you for this wonderful geyser of truth. You have eloquently captured the very thoughts that have captivated my thinking as I journeyed through the creation of my first novel. I know God will use it, and God will continue to use me. I do delight in the drudgery!

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