Writers respond to the question 'writing for a living: a joy or a chore.'
Will Self's answer is probably most consonant with what I think about writing fiction. Nobody is making you do it, contra to what Amit Chaudhuri seems to be arguing (I've met Chaudhuri a few times and this point seems typical of his Eeyorishness - he's also a classically-trained singer and one occasionally gets the impression that he'd rather be doing that most of the time.) It's pleasing that self refuses angst here. Ronan Bennett is straight to the point as well: 'I am not a tortured writer', he says, pleasingly opting out of the mythopoetics I was discussing last week. Julie Myerson is right to say that our writing tells us much about ourselves that we don't already know, and that this can often be frightening (but, I think, it's just as often comforting or reassuring). Geoff Dyer claims to prefer the tinkering and toning to the initial act of invention, something I can sympathise with at times.
But John Banville? Bloody hell. I'd like to credit him with being ironic here, but I suspect - having read The Sea, simultaneously the least original novel ever and the one that behaves as if is the most radical - that he isn't. Banville's utter pomposity is perhaps matched only by that of the actors in Blackadder.
Self is riding the updraft of my estimations at the moment, though. As a bonus, read the transcript of his absolute demolition of Richard Littlejohn and his 'novel' To Hell in a Handcart here.