Saturday Writing Quote — on creative confidence

Last month, I happened to be in Missoula the evening that Irish crime writer John Connolly was speaking at Shakespeare & Co., a local independent bookstore. Connolly made a comment about what he called “creative confidence.” I didn’t entirely agree with his comment, but I liked the term. And when I came across this poem from WS Merwin, it struck me as referring to exactly that mysterious, undefinable thing.

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

—W.S. Merwin, in “Berryman,” (about a conversation between Merwin (1927-2019) and John Berryman (1914-1972))