Woolf and Her Slapdash Diary

Woolf is eloquent even in criticizing the sloppiness of her diary.

“I got out this diary and read, as one always does read one’s own writing, with a kind of guilty intensity. I confess that the rough and random style of it, often so ungrammatical, and crying for a word altered, afflicted me somewhat. I am trying to tell whichever self it is that reads this hereafter that I can write very much better; and take no time over this; and forbid her to let the eye of man behold it.”

Then she builds up her confidence and gives us good advice for our creativity.

“And now I may add my little compliment to the effect that it has a slapdash and vigour and sometimes hits an unexpected bull’s eye. But what is more to the point is my belief that the habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles. Going at such a pace as I do I must make the most direct and instant shots at my object, and thus have to lay hands on words, choose them and shoot them with no more pause than is needed to put my pen in the ink.”

This last sentence makes me sad-

“I believe that during the past year I can trace some increase of ease in my professional writing which I attribute to my casual half hours after tea.”

as I recently gave up tea :( .