I’m presently reading Virginia Woolf’s Diaries vol. 1, when I stumbled on the following passage that I figured would be nice to quote and share. It’s about her husband, Leonard Woolf, having a melancholic day where he’s unable to write:
It’s a bad habit writing novels – it falsifies life, I think. However, after praising L’s writing very sincerely for 5 minutes, he says “Stop”; whereupon I stop, & theres no more to be said. When I analyse his mood, I attribute much of it to sheer lack of self confidence in his power of writing; as if he mightn’t be a writer, after all; & being a practical man, his melancholy sinks far deeper than the half assumed melancholy of self conscious people… There’s no arguing with him.
The Diary of Virginia Woolf vol. 1 1915-1919
How easy is it for writers to become melancholic, much less due to a lack of self confidence? I personally find it a daunting profession where one constantly battles one’s own self in terms of memory, beliefs, experience and abilities. I suppose it gives me a measure of joy to know that many greats also suffer. In the end though, one has to keep writing.