When Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own she referred to not only the physical space a woman needs to write, but also the need for room in education and the literary world for female writers to overcome the patriarchal nature of society.
Though I dare to say we are in no shape to dismiss these matters just yet, I’m not about to embark upon dissecting the latter topic in this article. What I do wish to talk about, is the need any writer has (woman or man) for a physical work space to call their own.
Like many writers, I’ve lived and worked in some pretty cramped places; from an office that squeezed twenty writers around one trestle table (elbow-to-elbow) to a studio apartment shared with an equally hardworking partner.
I’ve certainly longed for the luxury of my own desk (let alone my own room). It’s because of these experiences over the past few years that I’ve come to realise the importance of having your own work space, whether it’s a coffee table in the corner of a tiny room or an actual office.
Writing is, for the most part, a solitary venture. We lock ourselves away in the world we are creating and don’t want to be disturbed.
Personally, I can’t stand the noise of the television blaring, or people clanging about downstairs unnecessarily, though over the years I’ve become better at tuning it out.
These intrusions usually serve as distractions from our craft, and there really is nothing worse, considering how many of us struggle to find time for it in the first place.
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
Try and find yourself a little nook in the house where you can set yourself up a desk (it doesn’t have to be imposing). This desk should be yours and yours alone.
You should be free to leave your books open, your papers loose and your pen lidless, without the fear of having someone come along and moving things around.
Having this space is so important to your creative well being. It allows you to create routine, to stay focused and to have discipline. When you are sitting at your desk, there is only one thing you should be doing: writing.
Woolf said we needed money and a room of our own. I’d say that we need to get the room first (or at least the desk), and the money will come later. Hopefully.