The fourth paramita is Exertion. Whenever it is spoken of in the texts it is connected to joy. It is not, therefore, the paramita of drudgery. When we are writing from an ego-bound place it is hard to feel the joy - we may feel pleasure and satisfaction and be filled with hope (and therefore fear which is always hope's companion) and somehow we forget that we have CHOSEN to write - no one has put a gun to our head. Though I have thought it would be great to hire someone to sit outside my writing room with a gun and a smile on their face "not coming out until you've finished" but I digress. When we start to put the practices together the exertion is natural and joyous. We wake up and say to ourselves that there aren't enough hours in the day for what we want to do.
To practice exertion, we must go beyond what we think we are capable of. When we do that with generosity, with discipline and with patience for our fits and starts - we will feel tremendous joy.
A cautionary note - please be advised that the paramitas don't come easy -they are practices and all of us will find some easier than others. Pay attention to those that are most difficult for you - that is fertile ground to plough. And don't disparage yourself as you practice. Just gently remind yourself of them from time to time. It is very helpful to write about them - have your characters struggle with them. We all do. And when you hit the zone or sweet spot with them, you will know because it is just like hitting the sweet spot on a ski hill or running a marathon or figuring out a math problem or putting a doll together and seeing it works - you will feel it in your body - grace!