A Room of One’s Own — a lovely, writerly title, isn’t it? In this slim volume Virginia Woolf explores and extolls the importance of having a place of your own to write, your own little corner of the world where you are free to dream, ponder, and create. Virginia herself spent many years writing in basement stockroom in a London house where she and her husband ran Hogarth Press, a small publishing company. She liked to write at a big desk surrounded by ever-expanding small mountains of books. Her desk, it seems, was a messy affair — littered with half-completed stories, letters, journals, notes, ink pots and so on.
Later on in her life, when she and her husband Leonard found an old country home in Sussex, he turned an old garden shed into a writing studio for her. According to one author, she loved writing in this light-filled space, with its French doors and big windows looking out over the countryside. She loved her desk and vases filled with flowers from their garden. It was awash in warmth and sunshine — a true creative hideaway.
This writer’s retreat of Virginia’s has been preserved by the British National Trust — what a fantastic place it would be to visit! I can just see it in my mind’s eye now — and to me, it sounds like just the kind of writing space I’d design for myself. Sometimes just thinking about my ideal vision of a work space is tremendously energizing. I definitely want a little standalone shed or cottage-type space of my own that’s totally separate from my living space. On several trips to the Berkshires I’ve visited an artist studio that always seemed to me just about perfect.
How about you? What would your perfect writing space be like? How do you envision it? Is it a quiet retreat or a place where there’s lots of energy, lots of hustle and bustle? Would it be in the city or in the country? A high-tech paradise or a Victorian-style bungalow? A beach house or a loft in the middle of Manhattan? It’s fun to fantasize about, isn’t it? In the end, though, Virginia had it right: it’s all about a place of one’s own.