Everyone needs a room of one’s own – at least according to Virginia Woolf. Whether this is a literal or metaphorical dictum is open to interpretation – the state of women’s rights in Woolf’s day vastly different from today. Still – the idea that a dedicated writing space was integral to my success as an aspiring author was one that I wholeheartedly embraced and set about establishing. The house we lived in at the time I began my novel had the perfect writing spot – a small room off the bedroom with a window overlooking a beautiful verdant space abounding with trees. The light was perfect for writing and I spent many hours concocting devious plots while gazing at the woods.
Time passed and we moved. Our new home had another great place to write – the sunroom. Desk and computer were promptly installed at the window – this time a more urban view but picturesque just the same. I became pregnant with twins and needed to go on bed-rest. Not having a laptop and admonished to lie on my side –no sitting for anything – it became too difficult to write. Once the children arrived the only thing I wrote was a journal tracking their eating and elimination patterns. Time flew and when they turned three we moved again.
When we moved into our current home – my husband kindly offered to the convert the guest room into an office for me. We lined the walls with bookshelves filled with books on writing, inspiration, and reference. I hung posters of book signings and appearances and lovingly displayed my newly published book (written prior to the twins) in a prominent position.
My new IMAC was loaded and ready to go. I sat down to write and discovered that the sun shone in my eyes, which made me close the shades and eliminate the great view that was going to inspire my writing. I used my new computer all the time: to check email, prepare lesson plans for my children (during my home-schooling tenure), to play around on IPHOTO and make photo books and order prints. Somehow – writing just never seemed to get done in that room.
Enter my laptop. I thought I’d take it to the beach and that would be my new writing spot. Beautiful but busy. Frolicking children don’t make the best background music for the distractible writer.
I tried cafes, writing rooms, and the library. Nothing felt quite right. Then I discovered a local writer’s room in my town that was cozy and inviting. If offered free WIFI, coffee, comfy chairs, and tables at which to write. I was very productive there and enjoyed the added bonus of interacting with a community of writers. I had found my room. Words began to flow again. Summer came and obligations arose – no time to get to the writer’s room. Ah, another reason not to write.
And then one day the novel I had been playing around with for years took root. I brought my laptop with me to the eye doctor and while my eyes dilated, my fingers danced. Earphones delivered Mozart and the activity around me dissolved and faded to the background. I became so enthralled that the twenty minutes passed without my noticing. A quick re-check and the doctor sent me on my way. I asked the receptionist if she minded if I stayed for a few minutes to finish what I was working on. No problem. I sat back down and finished my scene. What a discovery! All those places previously a drain on my time were now opportunities for productivity: the hair salon, doctor, dentist, lobby waiting for kids. Now I don’t mind waiting rooms – they provide more time to create. I still belong to my local writer’s room and when I’m able to get there I can write for hours. But when I can’t – I can still write – as long as there’s a place to sit.
As my office waits, dusty and unoccupied, I find that every room is mine. As long as I don’t limit myself to the perfect writing spot – every spot is perfect.