Writerly Habits 1: Carving Out a Little Space

Last week, Cid Tyer wrote a post about the space she carved out for herself so that she would have some place comfortable and not-distracting to work in: “Creating a Writer’s Space”.  She asked her readers what kinds of places they liked to write in, and rather than answer in comment, I thought I would write my own little blog response.

In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote an extended essay entitled A Room of One’s Own, which has become vastly important feminist work.  In it, she argues that a woman must have money (at her time, $500/yr) and a room of her own in order to write fiction.  I won’t get into the ins and outs of her argument.  The point is that I believe a writer does not a little space of their own in order to write.  And while this was especially important for women writers in the 1920’s, it now holds equally true for writers both male and female.

For myself, I can on occasion write in several different places without too much difficulty.  For instance, I used to write in the middle class quite often, when I supposed to be paying attention or taking notes or some such thing.  I also sometimes write at the kitchen table, mainly because the family dog can’t climb stairs and I like to keep him company sometimes.  We also just bought a new table and umbrella for the back patio, and I spent upwards of 6-8 hours in the backyard writing this past weekend.

All that being said, the real place, My real place for writing is what I call my library-office.  Yes, I have my own library-office.  For reasons I won’t get into, my bedroom, or rather the room that my bed is in, isn’t really MY room, so I don’t spend much time in it when I’m not sleeping (besides which, I can’t write in my bed like I could in high school, I just fall asleep).  Instead, I have a small room upstairs that I have claimed as a place for all my books.  And I have a LOT of books.  (I really should count them all some time; that would be fun.)  So, I have this room, lined with books, with two desks, and a white board and a corkboard, and lots of posters.  In fact, here, here are a few pictures:

(Sorry the pictures are a little blurry.  My mother borrowed my camera so I’m using the camera on my macbook. Yeah…)

This is the one room in the house that is entirely my own.  It’s like a snap-shot of my very odd little mind.  It’s where I think best.  Where I can isolate myself from the television, and my brother, and housework, and distractions, and just WRITE.  I bought the purple desk and the chair (which isn’t actually all that comfortable) from Walmart, and the other desk is left over from the bedroom set I has a child, most of which was destroyed during Hurricane Ike.  But the room is MINE, and I love it.  And that is, essentially, what Virginia Woolf had in mind.

So, I’ll ask the same question Cid asked.  What about you?  Where do you write?  Do you have a special place carved out for the purpose?  Can you write anywhere?  Do you simply not have any choice in where you write?  Anything in between?

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9 thoughts on “Writerly Habits 1: Carving Out a Little Space

  1. I’m like you in that I really can write anywhere. The go to place for when I’m having difficulty writing though? The couch. There’s just something about being able to relax on the couch and write that’s perfect.

    • I sometimes write on the couch, when I’m home alone anyway. But if there’s anyone else in the house I HAVE to be in my office. And sometimes the temptation of the tv is too dangerous. I think: oh I’ll just put something on as background noise, and before I know it I’m watching Supernatural, or Criminal Minds, or something and haven’t written a word in hours.

  2. Great post! I too have my own little space for writing. It consists mostly of my desk in a spare room. I’ve been trying to get settled in by surrounding myself with all of my Hello Kitty stuff, lunch box collection, books, cds, photos of friends and family, and other pictures, posters and prints that inspire me. My favorite is “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais. I prefer to write here because I feel most comfortable in my own little space.

    • Ooh, “Ophelia”! Great painting. You can’t see it in the photos, but I have a couple Monets and a Van Gogh in my room as well. Actually, my poster/print collection is pretty uh… eclectic (my mother would say schizophrenic): A Joker poster next to a Laybrinth poster, next to an Akira poster, etc.

      And thanks, I’m glad you liked the post.

  3. Funny, Mckenzie at Unabridged Girl and I were just talking about this. I can’t always focus the way I need to in my room. My boyfriend will come in and out and ask me if I’m done yet, or I’ll stare at my shelves of movies and convince myself I can watch one and write at the same time, which is so not true! lol. So lately, I’ve been relishing the days I have off and packing a bag with my laptop, writing notebook, journal, and book I’m reading and heading either to a coffee shop or the library and sitting down for a few undisturbed hours of ME time, Writing Time! It’s helping me be more progressive. Someday, I will have a library-office like yours full of lots of color, until then, my books are patiently waiting in boxes.

    • Yeah, before I had my own little office, I spent a lot of time at the campus library too. But the library at UH often tends to be LOUDER because of the all the undergrad students running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

      And I feel sorry for your books hidden away in boxes. Mine were like that for many years. And then for a long time I just had them stacked against the wall on the floor because I didn’t have any bookcases (thank goodness for cheap walmart bookcases!).

  4. I tend to write right on my couch. I can put my feet up and cover myself up in a blanket. It is right near a window so I can often bask in a nice ray of sunlight too 🙂 Probably not the best for posture, but it’s the only way I can get comfortable enough to really enjoy myself.

  5. Wow, I do love your little niche for writing. I am quite jealous of the books you have. I have my little room set up. My bed literally 2 feet behind me, my desk that houses my computer, xbox, 32 inch tv that doubles as my computer monitor. Next to the desk is my file cabinet and my printer then my dvd’s. On the other side of my bed is my book case and on the wall next to the door is my dresser… kinda cramped but this is where I do 95% of my writing. The other 5% is where ever I can jot down notes and scribbles to help me organize my thoughts for essays (I have walked across campus writing in my note book before) and my computer class during lab (I love usb drives).

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