Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Room of Your Own

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." - Virginia Woolf

I'm not a big fan of Virginia Woolf (don't hate!) but this quote of hers rings true. Money- or some semblance of financial security- is important, yes, but I’m more focused on the room. Carving out a proper writing space is crucial to the creative process, for me anyway, and it is something I’ve neglected to my detriment.

For example: Right now I’m sitting on the loveseat in my living room. My laptop is resting somewhat awkwardly on my lap (my legs are crossed), while a pen and pad of paper sit just out of reach on the coffee table. An old episode of Cops is playing on the television and even though it’s one I’ve seen at least half a dozen times already, I stop every couple of minutes to check out the latest train wreck. My husband, who is crashed out on the other couch, comes over a couple of times to show me something on his own laptop. Nellie the cat is sitting next to me, swiping at the battery cord when she is not trying to climb onto me. This is where I can be found most nights and this is how it usually goes. Guess how many times I’ve started and stopped this entry since Monday. Too many to count. I’m sure that’s not at all surprising considering the atmosphere I just described. If I’m having this much trouble with a blog entry, imagine how productive I am with my novels.

I need a room of my own. Clearly the living room is out. The dining room is nice, but the table is a shade too high for comfortable writing. There is a bedroom just off of the living room and there is even a desk and a couch in there. Not too bad. It doesn’t feel right, though. While not large, the room feels too big. Upstairs, however…upstairs there is a little room that might be just right. I am like Goldilocks in the three bears’ cottage, trying out this space and that one. This room is just the right size for a writing table, a couple of bookshelves and a comfortable chair. The light is bright, but not too harsh. The three windows look out into the trees, making the room feel sort of like a tree house. Perfect. I’ve had my eye on this space for about as long as we’ve owned this house. The room is being used for other purposes but it won’t take much to reclaim it for my own. My own room. No more distractions and no more excuses. If I want to be serious about my writing, I need to be serious about the space in which I write.

Do you have a room- or space- of your own? Does it matter what is around you as you work? How important is it to you to have a special place for writing? What does your space look like?

6 comments:

Katie said...

I am ashamed to admit that I have no space to write. Nothing really to call "my room" aside from my office downstairs, and this room is too sterile, not comfortable enough.

Probably the best place that is my "writing space" is my bedroom. It's warm and inviting, and usually my cats will curl around me while I write. Now I must plot how to take the laptop away from hubby...

Samantha said...

Definitely reclaim that room for you!

I have a space in our guest room though I think I've only written there twice since we've been in the house. It feels too cramped and crowded in there. I can't write downstairs because Hubby always has the tv on or he's playing video games. I do find I can get some substantial writing done just sitting in bed with my netbook. But I would like to find a "real" space to use.

Colleen M. said...

My apartment is tiny - but the cozy kind of tiny. My living room, where my desk is, has these amazing windows that bring in a lot of natural light. There's a pond right off my deck (though it's currently drained - I think a stop-gap if we do get the floods they are predicting). The desk I use was once Sam's that she gave me when she moved. It's got this great table that pulls out and away from the rest of the desk so it also dubs as a craft table. I'll ususally turn on the jazz music channel on my cable and write. Living alone, while lonsome at times, is great for writing, whenever I get the urge I don't have to check with anyone, I just do :)

Andrea said...

I've tried writing in bed, but it doesn't work well for me. I have to accept that I need a quiet enclosed space in which to work and I need to be sitting upright, not laying back in bed or slouching on the couch. Like I need to be physically focused as well as mentally.

Sheila said...

I am sadly lacking in a space of my own for writing. I had hoped that once we had a house, we could arrange things so that I could have my office and my husband could have his, but the way things ended up, there is just one office between us, and it's not even set up yet. (A little touch-up paint, a little quarter-round, and that could change, but until then...)

So most of my writing currently takes place either in bed (which is very uncomfortable) or on the living room couch (only slightly better). My only other options are the dining room table and the sewing tables in the basement. Neither seems very comfortable.

I envy you your cozy nook...

Shannon said...

I usually write in my bedroom at my desk. I've tried to make it into a little nook. I live on the third floor so I have slanted walls which sometimes double as a cork board for any notes that I've written.

This works for me because I have a view of the television, I need background noise to write and I'm pretty close to the windows so when I need a mental break I can look out and watch the traffic go by. For some reason I find that relaxing.

I regret not taking the downstairs bedroom sometimes because there's a walk in closet that I'd so have turned into a little writing nook.