My work continued to go badly. I wrote more slowly than I ever had before, and continued to second-guess what I’d written, unable to escape the feeling that all I’d written in the past had been wrong, misguided, a kind of enormous mistake. I began to suspect that instead of exposing the hidden depths of things, as all along I’d supposed I was doing, perhaps the opposite was true, that I’d been hiding behind the things I wrote, using them to obscure a secret lack, a deficiency I’d hidden from others all my life, and, by writing, had kept, even, from myself. A deficiency that became larger as the years passed, and harder to conceal, making my work more and more difficult. What sort of deficiency? I suppose you could call it a deficiency of spirit. Of strength, of vitality, of compassion, and because of this, welded to it, a deficiency of effect.
Great House, by Nicole Krauss, p. 36