On having a “room of her own”

3 Quotes in 3 Days: Day 1

I’ve accepted a challenge by jrose88 to write three blog posts with a quote over three days’ time — and to nominate three bloggers each day of the challenge.

My first quote is an excellent candidate for a second installment of “Totally unhelpful quotes by famous authors” (previous blog post). If you’re a writer, you may have run across it several hundred times on Twitter.

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

Okay, first let’s talk about money.

I’m not arguing the fact that writing supplies and tools cost money, because they do.

I’m typing this on a laptop, for pity’s sake — which cost money. If I want to print something out, I need a printer, printer ink/toner, and printer paper.Β And internet access isn’t free, either.

That said, if Ms. Woolf is saying that a woman needs money of her own — money that belongs to no one but her — I would say she was wrong. I’ve only recently taken on a part-time job to supplement my husband’s income, and, as a rule, when I buy things for writing — whether it’s printer paper (which the kids usually use for drawing paper), books on writing and self-publishing, or writing tools like my favorite pens and notepads — the money probably comes from my husband’s paychecks, since mine are much smaller.

But maybe she just meant money in general — and aΒ room of her own.

In which case, I’ll move on to the second thing.

Because, for me, having a room of my own would be a luxury, not a necessity. I’ve learned to live — and to write — without it. I’m writing this now from a corner of the living room, next to a desktop computer, which our five-year-old is using to watch Dragon Tales.

The old sewing table which is my desk is just big enough to accommodate my laptop, my mouse-pad and my elbows, since I’m using an old ottoman for a seat.

I get that writers are told all the time that if they plan to spend a lot of time writing, they should invest in a comfortable, adjustable, ergonomic chair and it’s best to work in an environment with as few distractions as possible.

But that, again, is a luxury around here. If I want to write, I have to tune out the distractions (the ones that I can afford to tune out). And, no, I’m not going to turn off the phone ringer, because if my husband calls, I am going to answer it.

Anyone who wants to question my commitment to writing on the basis of my not having secured a room of my own — and an income of my own — is free to do so. And I’m free to ignore whoever does.

But I’m guessing most people reading this won’t measure my commitment by the size of my writing space and the amount of money I’m willing — or able — to invest in my writing.

I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have my own office — with a door and bookcases and a larger desk with a comfortable writing chair. Maybe someday I’ll have one. It might not be until the kids are grown, though. Our oldest is already determined to move out of the house as soon as he’s able (and while he still knows everything). So, four years from now, who knows? I might have that office. And it’ll have a bed! And a window!!

That’s where the desk will go. I’m picturing something with drawers. πŸ˜‰

 

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8 thoughts on “On having a “room of her own”

  1. Living in a one bedroom apartment with another person, a dog, and a cat, I don’t have a room to myself either. Sometimes us writers have to build the room in our heads if we want a good space to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, and I like the idea of creating a room in our heads to put ourselves in the best mindset for writing. For many of us, that’s how we create a room of our own, though it’s not something we can snap a picture of. We can take it anywhere, though. πŸ˜‰Thanks for commenting, and have a great evening and weekend! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I come from a family of six kids, too, and a “distraction-free environment” it was not. πŸ˜‰ It’s always weird & even disconcerting when our house is actually quiet. I need white noise to sleep. I still tell my kids to quiet down if they’re getting too rowdy, but I don’t want to shut myself up away from them, either, especially since I missed them during the day. Thanks for commenting & have a great evening and weekend! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also find silence unnerving. I absolutely can’t sleep without white noise! And if I’m alone I always listen to music or talk to myself, or I feel creeped out haha. πŸ˜€ Hope you have a great weekend, too!

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  2. Hi, another broke-as-a-joke writer here, tapping out this reply on an incredibly outdated laptop, in the living room with two terribly distracting dogs running rampant. I totally feel your pain. Going from a house to a one-bedroom apartment has not been easy for me, my definition of personal space had to change overnight. We’ll get through this, though, and possibly be all the better writers for having worked our way through struggles while honing our craft. πŸ™‚ Great post!

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    1. This house was plenty big for us when we moved in, but now — three kids later (for a total of four) — it’s getting a bit cramped. We make the best of it, because we have to, and because our kids love it here. They like the school district, they love that our property has plenty of room for play (which is all the more fun when it snows), and they love this house, which most of them have known since infancy. Add to that the fact that we currently pay less on our mortgage than we could expect to pay on pretty much any larger house within a reasonable driving distance from my husband’s job and mine, to say nothing of the property tax differences. Ours is pretty low, here. And our property value just recently rose above the amount we still owe on the place (it plummeted shortly after we bought it). So . . . I’m all for getting rid of stuff that we don’t need, use, or love, since the clutter is driving me nuts right now. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for writing and for your kind compliment!! Have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

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