Do Writers Need A Room of Their Own?

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From Writer Unboxed:

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

As an only child, I always had my own room. There were many, many rooms during the years when my father was a golf course construction supervisor. Some were cramped and generic, others included an adjoining bathroom or even a private balcony. One, at a ski resort, was technically its own rental unit with a separate address from my parents. At nine I had the entire second floor of our condo, which included two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a loft, though I usually hung out in the storage nook halfway down the staircase, which I also claimed. At our house in Maine, half the basement was mine. Not such a prize, as I had orange shag carpeting, no door, and a quarter of my space was taken up by the woodstove, which meant my winter sleeping quarters were five degrees hotter than hell. My dad eventually finished the basement and built me a proper room because he’s awesome like that.

I read, wrote, and drew constantly as a kid.

When I started college, my parents literally lived on the other side of the world—Thailand. Everything I owned had to be hauled to Missouri and stuffed into a shared dorm room. (Apologies to my roommate, who never complained.)

All creativity vanished.

. . . .

When I married, my “room” shrunk to a shared office. Two kids later I downsized to a cramped computer armoire tucked into the corner of a cluttered common room, the TV mere steps away. I responded to e-mail while the Little Einsteins theme song played in the background and took social media “breaks” when the hubby watched The Walking Dead. I wrote during those brief, precious hours when I had the house to myself, with frequent interruptions to let the dogs in, out, and back in again. Damn squirrels!

A single draft took years to accomplish. I feared I’d never have a successful writing career at that pace.

. . . .

Having a dedicated space is a signal to yourself that writing is not an idle hobby that you peck away at between household chores or doom-scrolling Twitter sessions. Ideally, there should be no Twitter allowed in this space. It is a place you go to work.

Having a dedicated space is a signal to everyone else in the household that writing is not an idle hobby you peck away at between household chores or doom-scrolling Twitter sessions. It is your job, regardless of whether it brings in an income, and should be treated with the same respect as any other job. If the door is closed or noise canceling headphones are on, you are working. Boundaries should only be crossed only for emergencies.

Having a dedicated space allows for disengagement from the world. Focus can be in short supply under the best of circumstances. None of us are living that right now. 2020 is an awful year on so many levels between this nightmare election and the disruption of this pandemic. We are all grieving, be it for lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost vacations and canceled milestones. In a world where even the act of going out for coffee with a friend is a calculated risk, there’s a lot of free-floating anxiety in the air. Creative types are generally more sensitive to all that negative energy. We need a buffer.

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

PG finds a room of his own an absolute necessity.

Mrs. PG finds a room of PG’s own an absolute mess.

They compromise by having PG close the door to his own room if visitors come who may wander into the vicinity of PG’s room. Sometimes, Mrs. PG requests that PG lock the door so no accidental traumas occur.