Sunday, June 22, 2008

Virginia Woolf

I'm reading A Writer's Diary. It is one of a five volume series published by Leonard Woolf after his wife's death in 1941. Virginia Woolf began keeping a diary in 1915, and when she died, she left 26 volumes of diary behind. Her husband chose not to publish it as a whole because it is a diary, and therefore, very personal. I know my diary (or, as we call them now, journal) is my one sacred place to say anything that I would never want exposed to the world. But, Leonard Woolf published it as an analysis inside the writer's mind, to show her commitment to her craft and the art of writing. In reading it, she provides critiques of other writer's works of the time, analyzing them for her own possible use in her work, she discusses everyday problems, and simply uses it for writing practice. It is interesting to read. For years my journal has been the dumping ground of my petty problems in an attempt to free my muse for better work. It is interesting to see that writers have faced that issue over the ages. Slowly, as problems become fewer and I deal with them at hand and move on, my journal has become more a place of writing practice. It is a great place to focus my mind on a topic, any topic (I have prompt cards to assist me), and get out of the mundane of everyday life. This book is showing me that no matter what book project I am working on, neglecting writing practice is not an option if I want to clear the clutter of my brain to focus on my work.

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