I am reading A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf right now, and it seems that writer’s problems and inspirations are universal throughout space and time. At one place in the book she describes her writer’s block:
And I ought to be writing Jacob’s Room; and I can’t, and instead I shall write down the reason why I can’t—this diary being a kindly blankfaced old confidante. Well, you see, I’m a failure as a writer. I’m out of fashion: old: shan’t do any better: have no headpiece: the spring is everywhere: my book out (prematurely) and nipped, a damp firework.
At another, while talking about her sister’s children, she explains what drives her to write:
[And yet oddly enough I scarcely want children of my own now.] This insatiable desire to write something before I die, this ravaging sense of the shortness and feverishness of life, make me cling, like a man on a rock, to my one anchor.
And nothing of that nonsense that a writer should be glad to survive on his or her minuscule advances and meager royalties, because art is its own reward. No, she openly discusses how many copies she hopes to sell and how much money to earn. And guess what? This doesn’t stop her from being a passionate and devoted artist:
Now that I have £16 to spend before July 1st (…) I feel freer; can afford a dress and a hat and so may go about, a little, if I want. And yet the only exciting life is the imaginary one. Once I get the wheels spinning in my head, I don’t want money much, or dress, or even a cupboard, a bed at Rodmall or a sofa.
Really inspiring read.