“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
I don’t believe Ms. Woolf’s assessment is true; in fact, J.K. Rowling has rather resoundingly shot it down. However, when I stumbled across this excellent photo essay on the small writing “sheds” of famous writers (in the equally excellent blog “re-nest”, a tribute to green home design) I started thinking about where I – and the other writers I know – do our work.
Some of my friends write at cafés (ala Rowling) or at their day job, during lunch or when things are slow. Some work on laptops in easy chairs or on their couch, others write things out longhand before typing it. And some – like me – have a designated office space where nearly all our work is done.
(I say nearly, because I often cook up new scenes or do some mental editing or work out a plot issue in bed in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, in my car when I’m driving to pick up my kids, or when I’m pushing a cart around the grocery store. I know some writers who keep notepads or recording devices handing for these flashes of insight, but I don’t. I’ve learned over the years that if I’m meant to retain whatever it is I’m musing about, I will. If I can’t remember it later, it’s probably not worth remembering.)
My office space is occasionally (and by permission only) used by my sons for their homework or my husband for household business. But, by and large, the work that happens here is creative and it’s mine. Sure, I’ve written wherever and whenever I can steal space and time, but I’m lucky enough not to have to do that at the moment.
For me, that’s a huge blessing. Because the work I do here, in a specifically designated place during specifically designated times (i.e., the hours when my sons are away at school and the house is quiet) is the best work I’ve ever done. I’m a creature of habit and a lover of rituals, and when I come to this desk, my brain knows it’s time to work and my heart sings – because I love to write.
And I believe that love, that passion for story and words, is really the only thing a writer must have.
But I do love my office. 🙂
Tell me – where do you do your best creative work? And whose “writing shack” do you like best? (I’m torn between the romance of Virginia Woolf’s and the slick, stylish organization of Michael Pollan’s.)