At one point in My Writing Life Neil Bell casually remarks of one of his novels: “All I had to do was sit down and let my pen rip: and let it rip I did to the tune of about 4,000 words a day for five or six weeks.” This is facility indeed, but almost certainly many will view such facility with envy tempered with disapproval. Writers boast or confess at their own risk. Trollope's reputation suffered when he confessed in his Autobiography that he worked to a scheme and by the clock and that he considered novel‐writing to be just another of the educated professions. Thereafter, to some literary snobs, he was little more than a self‐condemned journeyman. On the other side there was Stevenson who admitted that he had “played the sedulous ape” and that he took infinite pains in his writing. He thereupon became suspect as a mere weaver of words. It is a vicious world: confess and be damned.
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