A Room of Her Own

Virginia Woolf said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Well, obviously everyone needs money, but I believe the need for personal space is a necessity for any writer. Perhaps this is true for any creative person. Whether you write poetry, paint, scrapbook, or cross stitch, you need a room to call your own.

I don’t claim a particular space in which to write, but I’m very territorial when it comes to my laptop. Just ask my kids and my husband. As long as I have my laptop, I can plunk down anywhere and write. I can tune out almost anything–kids, television, background noise in a coffee shop. But, ask to borrow my laptop? Well, let’s just say I don’t react very nicely. For me, it’s an invasion of personal space. There aren’t too many material things I hold dear, but my laptop is one of those things, and in essence, it’s my “room of my own.”

Recently, a friend and fellow author, Greg Hart, has embarked upon a journey to create his own Writer’s Space. He’s been sharing his journey on a blog that shows pictures of his efforts and also offers low-cost ideas: Journey to Creating a Writers Getaway.

The topic of personal space has come up more than once during the past week. For a blog interview, another author asked me what my ideal writing office might look like. If I were able to pick a room–for my writing, for meditation, or to get away when the world around me becomes too noisy–I have many fanciful ideas, but there is one recurring theme: beauty.

For some creative persons, beauty is essential. Others seek calm. I know some writers and photographers who see beauty in anything–an industrial building, an urban landscape, a rubbish pile. Different settings inspire different people, but everyone deserves their own space. Whether that space is in a quiet office with towering bookshelves, the kitchen table, the whole wide world, or your own mind, a writer must have a room of his or her own.

Where’s your ‘room?’ Do you retreat to an office, or is the whole world your creative space? Where do you do your best work?

10 thoughts on “A Room of Her Own

  1. I do love Virginia Woolf, and I think she was dead on when she said that. I like the way you have interpreted that to be anything that’s just your own for writing. I am equally possessive about my laptop, but I do not like noise at all! I need quiet to create. I am fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom and a husband who doesn’t mind me claiming it for a writing room, and I can’t tell you how lucky it makes me feel. I would never get any work done with kids, television, etc., so major props!

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  2. For me, it’s not really a place, but a time. My best writing is done in the early morning, when everyone in the house is still asleep and the house is totally quiet. This is best done with a cup of coffee sitting conveniently near my laptop. Usually I write at the dining room table. But on those occasions when my hubby is up early, I write locked up in the bedroom from the comfort of my own bed. Thank goodness for portable laptops!

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  3. I feel the same way about my laptop. There’s no sharing. There’s no borrowing. There isn’t even any touching. Right now I write in our rec room in the basement, home of the only TV in the house… my husband has missed many episodes of his favourite shows so that I could write in peace. I’m developing a scheme to build myself my very own office where I can “go to work,” either by converting the top of our garage into a loft, or by building a tiny house in the backyard (basically a finished shed with a desk, couch and space heater). I feel like the more I write, the more I need to be free of the distractions of the house, even when everyone else has gone to bed (my best writing time). Like my laptop which is just for me and is used for writing, I want a space that will be the same.

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    • Unfortunately, I do have to share my laptop occasionally, but not too often. My family gets the ‘death stare’ when they ask to use it, and even if I let them, I hover over them. I hope you get your personal writing space soon.

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  4. For me, I like to take a notebook and get out. Writing on buses can lead to productive sessions. You never know the type of people you will find there. Plus, if you are lucky to get a window seat, you can see everything that passes you by. Perhaps even better than that is being outside and walking/running through different paths. I like to be active when thinking. Staying still in a room is too distracting.
    –JW

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  5. I can write anywhere but only in silence therefore public places are out… My poor laptop travels around the farm and in the summer you will most likely find us under an olive tree…

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