Work Worth Doing
You never know what's going to start a controversy. This time, it turned out to be:
Writings for your friends and family is great. Writing for your teacher, so you can get a good grade, is misery.
Of course, it's not that simple. Sometimes, your teacher is a friend. Sometimes, your teacher is family. And, yes, there are lots of worse things than pointless exercises.
The joy of craft practice -- the pleasures of five finger exercises deftly done, the morning smile that follows a nice, solitary workout -- are best savored by the master and the dedicated disciple. Most of the time, we want our work to mean something, to accomplish something, in the external world. Writing for the Web -- even if chiefly for a small audience -- is real work, in a way that writing for my drawer, or for English III, isn't.