Charles Dickens, on not writing, for various reasons

Aug 10, 2012 | Writing Convolutes

On thinking about Barnaby Rudge (1840-41):

“I didn’t stir out yesterday, but sat and thought all day; not writing a line; not so much as the cross of a t or dot of an i. I imaged forth a good deal of Barnaby by keeping my mind steadily upon him; and am happy to say I have gone to work this morning in good twig, strong hope and cheerful spirits”

— qtd. in Michael Slater’s Charles Dickens p. 162


On trying to start Little Dorrit (1855-57):

“…walking about the country by day — prowling about into the strangest places in London by night — sitting down to do an immensity — getting up after doing nothing — walking about my room on particular bits of flowers in the carpet — tearing my hair (which I can’t afford to do) — and on the whole astonished at my own condition, though I am used to it…”

— qtd. in John Butt & Kathleen Tillotson’s Dickens at Work p. 19