A Writer's Diary
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A Writer's Diary

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  2,202 ratings  ·  74 reviews
An invaluable guide to the art and mind of Virginia Woolf, drawn by her husband from the personal record she kept over a period of twenty-seven years. Included are entries that refer to her own writing, others that are clearly writing exercises; accounts of people and scenes relevant to the raw material of her work; and comments on books she was reading. Edited and with a...more
Paperback, 355 pages
Published March 31st 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 1953)
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Memoirs by Women
45th out of 1,248 books — 1,644 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankA Writer's Diary by Virginia WoolfThe Diary of Frida Kahlo by Frida KahloThe Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia PlathThe Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden
Women's Journals and Diaries in History
2nd out of 219 books — 86 voters

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Virginia Woolf

On January 1, 1953, Leonard Woolf completed his Preface to A Writer's Diary, a compilation of extracts from the 26 volumes of diaries that Virginia Woolf wrote from 1915 until 1941, with the last entry written just four days before her death. This book was published before the five-volume set of Woolf's diaries that is still in print today. Leonard Woolf makes it clear that, especially since so many of the people whom Woolf wrote about were still alive at the point, it was importan...more
I have to wonder at my timing on this one. Here I am, picking up one of the most perfect books for spurring the self on to writing during the merry month of NaNoWriMo, only to finish in the midst the most recent surge of action in the great Gramazon debacle; a debacle wholly embittered by the concept of self-published authors. Now, I'd like to go the traditional rout of publishing myself, but still. It gives both this review and my dream of writing for a living an air of antagonism, watch your s...more
La parola scritta permette agli uomini, ai loro gesti, di non morire. Che sia letta o meno, congela atti, pensieri, e li rivitalizza al tempo stesso a ogni richiesta.
E' una lettura piacevole e molto stimolante, questa, durante la quale partecipare alle emozioni, così come a una confidenza. Rende un'idea esatta - non potrebbe essere altrimenti - del calibro della scrittrice e della donna; della sua sensibilità paradossale; del travaglio di ogni creazione; del sollievo di ogni vittoria; dell'uman...more
“Strano come la forza creativa rimette subito in sesto l’universo intero.”

Bisogna armarsi di passione e di pazienza per entrare nell’Io inespresso della Woolf, e salire sulle impalcature di quelle sue lente – e pur sempre operose – costruzioni letterarie. Leggere il suo diario è dare uno sguardo attento dapprima alla planimetria e poi al vero e proprio progetto, portato avanti con impegno e minuziosità, nell’esercizio della scrittura, nell’esercizio del vivere. È partecipare direttamente alla fo...more
Jenny Maloney
Loved, loved, loved this! I highly recommend this book for writers...especially those who think that they might be struggling in vain. After all, Woolf is now listed as one of the greats and this book is packed with information on her process, her concerns, her self-doubts, and her triumphs. It's inspiring.

The reader does have to keep in mind that this is a diary, and therefore doesn't have a particular 'design'. The emotional ups and downs can be tiring (especially regarding her concern about c...more
Lady Jane
Ah, Virginia. I feel that I know you, although I know that I do not.
I like reading about your struggles and realizing just how much you leave out (this book is excerpts from a much longer diary). I like that you are human, worried, fallible. I want to jump though the pages of time to reassure you that your writing, your reputation and your beautiful works of art will survive. I love you Virginia. How very presumptuous of me.
Nina Milton
My copy of Virginia Woolf’s A WRITER'S DIARY seems to be a first edition of 1953 from The Hogarth Press. It has that smell of an old book about it – a mix of tobacco, spores and midnight oil. The original owner of the book has written her name in on the first page in slanting black ink...Marjory Todd...and dated it 1/1/54,suggesting that this was a Christmas present. Dipping into it on occasion, as I do, reminds me of something Virginia wrote...What a vast fertility of pleasure books hold for me...more
Quando un libro mi richiede tempo, rallenta la mia voracità nel leggere e detta i suoi ritmi già so che quasi sicuramente è un libro che mi rimarrà impresso. A volte mi capita, con i Diari di una scrittrice è successo. Forse è stato un errore vedere "Hours" nel mentre, anche se così alcuni particolari supportati dall'immagine ( tipo la tavoletta di scrittura con calamaio incorporato, bellissima) hanno avuto una sorta di sottolineatura.
Quello che provo quando leggo Virginia Woolf è sempre qualcos...more
I don't really know much about the relationship between Leonard and Virginia Woolf, but this book was lovingly edited. Excerpted from her unabridged diaries, Leonard Woolf culled the bits that he thought to be most about writing--the process, exercises, etc. These entries detail her exhaustive writing and revision process, as well as the relationship between her own reading and writing. She often sets herself schedules and tasks here, which were interesting to read. Reading this book has re-invi...more
Argh, the inadequacy of the stars! One star is missing only for all the people and events that went over my head (rather that I let pass by). But even at her most informal (or especially?), Woolf is striking. The last year (1940-1941; the war) is affecting enough to balance out that last stretch of the diaries that is not as concerned with writing as the preceding. The brevity and casualness of her "notes" and the repetition of her anguish and fear and anxiety with every book are somehow warming...more
Heather Mize

I suppose your diary is the one place it's ok to be self obsessed, but I find Woolf's ego and narcissism off putting. Most writers have ego's of course, but I get the feeling Woolf writes more to stroke her ego than she does for story. I find her and Joyce to be overrated. I don't think inaccessible, scholarly writing is what makes good literature. Story does. It's fiction for crying out loud! I am impressed most when writers are not trying to impress! Of course Woolf is deeply insecure and cri...more
یک یادداشت‌ روزانه از وولف، یادداشت سه‌شنبه 19 ژوئن
دفترچه را با این ایده به دست گرفتم که شاید درباره نوشتنم چیزی بگویم. بر اثر نگاه کردن به ‌آنچه کاترین مانسفیلد در «لانه کبوتر» درباره نوشتن خود گفته بود، برانگیخته شدم. ولی فقط به آن نگاهی کردم. درباره احساسات ژرف بسیار گفته بود، همچنین درباره پاکی، که از آن انتقاد نمی‌کنم، در حالی‌ که می‌توانم. اما خب، درباره نوشته‌هایم چه احساسی دارم؟- این کتاب یعنی «ساعت‌ها»1، اگر عنوانش همین باشد؟ داستایوسکی گفت آدم باید از احساسات عمیق بنویسد. آیا من چنین م...more
There are few writers who fascinate me as completely as Virginia Woolf. Aside from her clearly brilliant mind and the breadth and depth of her cannon of work, we, as readers, have been afforded the opportunity to experience the world and hear about Virginia's creative processes -- and how at times her madness about life fueled those processes -- through her own very articulate voice.

Through the madness there is absolute clarity -- not IN SPITE of it, but rather BECAUSE of it, I'd argue.

This work...more
There are times when I think that Virginia Woolf was our most passionate, observant and shrewd writer and that is most in evidence, perhaps, in her diaries and letters. Here she is sharp, entertaining, thrilling, brilliant, sorrowful and inspiring, and yet, always, human.
She says this: “I get the strangest feeling now of our all being in the midst of some vast operation: of the splendor of this undertaking—life: of being capable of dying: an immensity surrounds me. No—I can’t get it—shall let i...more
Partendo dal fatto che io amo alla follia la Woolf, non potevo che comprare questo libro e riconoscerci dentro l'evoluzione dei suoi romanzi, che io ho amato e apprezzato come ho potuto fare con poche altre mie letture. Il diario rappresenta la vera vita di una scrittrice, e mostra come i sentimenti degli uomini non cambino mai, anche se vivono in uno sfondo storico-culturale diverso. Bellissimo.
Jul 11, 2008 Anad rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Virginia's writing
I'm only about halfway through right now, and there are a number of tedious parts and some repeats but it's interesting to see how hard on herself she was and how modern in her thinking. She is very unsentimental which I like, and some of her insights and depressions related to being an artist (with words) resonated with me and my own struggles.
Josephine Ensign
"A note: despair at the badness of the book: can't think how I could ever write such stuff--and with such excitement: that's yesterday: today I think it is good again. A note, by way of advising other Virginias with other books that this is the way of the thing: up down up down---and Lord knows the truth." This quote of Woolf's, which she wrote on November 14th, 1934, and which appears a little over half-way in this collection of diary extracts, is one of my favorites and also sums up the book....more
Virginia Woolf has always fascinated me. I have read a great deal about the Bloombury Group and envied the literary circle they lived in.

Her husband put this book together after she died and it is a testament not only to her writing and creative process, but also of the mental battle that ultimately led to her suicide.

Kathleen Amshoff
Just so inspiring. It's fascinating to see her muse about her craft, especially if you know her books. First she doesn't have a handle on it, then she feels she's mastered it, then she's afraid she's lost again... And she's as sensitive to praise and criticism as any of us. Reassuring reading for the artist.
ای مرگ ! می خواهم خود را به سویت افکنم شکست ناپذیر و به زانو در نیامده.
Aura Mircea
The inside workings of a complicated and extremely sensitive mind.
Mar 14, 2007 azadeh added it
in this book you can really know who virijinia wolf was.
These extracts from Virginia Woolf's diary from 1918 to 1941 were selected by her husband some years after her death to throw light on her life as a writer. He said that "The diary is too personal to be published as a whole during the lifetime of many people referred to in it," so he decided to publish extracts, focusing on her working life.

The whole diary was published in several volumes in the 1970s and 80s but this edition still has a huge appeal. The extracts are so well selected you get a f...more
I think it's time I rated this, even though I haven't been reading it sequentially but dipping in an out of it.

For me, Woolf's Writer's Diary was intensely personal on two levels, because I see her not just as a fellow woman writer but a literary ancestor in this way:

I think (hope, dream) that my writing is heavily influenced by Nancy Kress, who sees her work as influenced by Ursula LeGuin, who sees herself as influenced by Virginia Woolf.

Woolf, in turn, in this book, mentions Defoe's influenc...more
Sandy Parsons
It’s both wonderful and frustrating that her husband edited her diary for us. There is so much missing, and you can’t help but wonder at certain points if she would agree with what was cut, or even, what was left in (I am aware that her diaries have been published in uncut form as well, but I am specifically referring to this work as I read it). Read continuously, it is often tedious and repetitive, because, as anyone who’s ever kept a journal knows, each life has its themes that it keeps return...more
I lingered through this gorgeous book, all the while connecting with Virginia Woolf as a writer, especially understanding her exhaustion after finishing the final corrections of a novel, and the unsettled feeling after it's published...thinking: It's no good, no one's going to like it, it's nonsense...and then being surprised when people do like it (she pretty much knew out of her critics who wouldn't.)

I loved this entry from Wednesday, September 6th 1922:

"My proofs [Jacobs Room:] come every ot...more
One of the most interesting diaries I've read. I'd love to read them unabridged, without Leonard's editing for personal writing, but even with that, they were fascinating. Virginia is one of my favorite people, I think she was brilliant, and I need to read so much more of her work.

This is a wonderful read for anyone who has ever written, wants to write, writes on a regular basis, or loves to literature. She writes regularly about her writing process, as well as what she is reading, thinking, etc...more
This is another case of buying the book for a college class, not being assigned anything from it, and feeling like I should actually read it since I paid for it. I thought I might like it better than I liked any of her actual writing (I'm normally a sucker for journal entries or letters), but alas. I found myself being annoyed at her constant "I'm thrilled with everything/I'm so depressed; I'm ecstatic at the positive reviews/crushed by the negative reviews/I don't care about reviews a whit; I c...more
Katy Bennett
Purely on a pleasure level, I found this really slow going and tedious. It was hard to keep up with the style of writing the way one thought bled into another unrelated thought. Hard to really know who all the people Virginia writes about are as they were so personal to her daily life that they meant nothing to me as a reader.

Also I never got a sense of change in Virginia's personality as the diaries moved through the years.

From a writer's interest, I found it inspiring to keep going with my own...more
Nellie Airoldi
È come spiare dal buco della serratura, avere il dono dell'invisibilità e decidere di entrare nella vita di Virginia Woolf per poter capire, ammirare, sognare, migliorare con lei.

Sono contrastanti le sensazioni che si provano leggendo il suo diario: ammirazione per la sua capacità di rendere la prosa meravigliosa anche quando il fine non è la scrittura di un'opera, ammirazione per la sua creatività, ammirazione per i suoi nervi sempre tesi che non riesce a tenere a bada e che cerca in ogni modo...more
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help 1 5 Jan 14, 2014 09:07AM  
Read by Theme: A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf 3 33 Aug 18, 2012 03:56AM  
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Virginia Woolf: A Biography
  • Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life
  • Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters
  • Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield
  • On Writing (Modern Library)
  • The Brontës: A Life in Letters
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Letters Home
  • On Becoming a Novelist
  • With Borges
  • The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
  • The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982
  • Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness
  • Ernest Hemingway on Writing
  • The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947
  • Mourning Diary
(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es...more
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.” 254 likes
“I enjoy almost everything. Yet I have some restless searcher in me. Why is there not a discovery in life? Something one can lay hands on and say “This is it”? My depression is a harassed feeling. I’m looking: but that’s not it — that’s not it. What is it? And shall I die before I find it?” 48 likes
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