'/> Uncommon Hours: "...so long as it brings interest."
Blogging on culture, politics, and the environment since 2008.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"...so long as it brings interest."

“The great thing is never to feel bored with one’s own writing. That is the signal for a change—never mind what, so long as it brings interest.”

So said Virginia Woolf in her diary entry for Feb. 9, 1924. She was at work on a novel she called The Hours, published the following year as Mrs. Dalloway. The lines are more celebration than admonition, for she was pleased with the writing she’d done lately.

As with so much of her writing, there’s extraordinary depth in the sentiment. The challenge is to reach beyond the sense of vanity we enjoy in the sound of our own words. Have we said something new? If our own words had been written by another, would they have interest?

The book’s form was daring; it took risks; she declared herself ready to throw the manuscript in the fire in an instant.

Thank goodness she didn’t.

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