The Tang-dynasty poet Jia Dao (779-843) found composing his poems quite a painful process, and his creative method was to chant his verses repeatedly to get the right line. Those engaged in “painstaking versification” tended to be exhausted and frustrated, and their poetry is regarded as a way of relief for their sorrows. Sometimes, the term also refers to a perfectionist attitude to literary and artistic creation.
It took me three years to get two lines right. / So when I chanted them, my tears flowed. (Jia Dao: After Finishing a Poem)
Chanting in search of the right word, / I twisted off several hairs of my beard. (Lu Yanrang: Painstaking Versification)