Luther on Writing

“Some think that the office of writer is simple and easy, that real work is to ride in armor and suffer heat, cold, dust, thirst, and other discomforts.  It is always the same old story: no one sees where the other’s shoe pinches; everyone is aware of his own problems and thinks the other fellow has it made.  True, it would be hard for me to ride in armor; but on the other hand I would like to see the horseman who could sit still with me all day and look into a book–even if he had nothing else to care for, write, think about, or read.  Ask a chancery clerk, preacher, or speaker whether writing and speaking is work! Ask a school master whether teaching and training boys is work!  The pen is light, that is true.  Also there is no tool of any of the trades that is easier to get than the writer’s tool, for all that is needed is a goose feather, and you can pick them up anywhere free of charge.  But in writing, the best part of the body (which is the head) and the noblest of the members (which is the tongue) and the highest faculty (which is speech) must lay hold and work as never before.  In other occupations it is only the fist or the foot or the back or some other such member that has to work; and while they are at it they can sing and jest, which the writer cannot do.  They say of writing ‘it only takes three fingers to do it’; but the whole body and soul work at it.”  Martin Luther, “A Sermon on Keeping Children in School,” Luther’s Works, vol. 46, p. 249.

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