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A Room of One's Own

I follow all sorts of Facebook pages relating to reading and writing. They make me feel a little more connected to others with the same passion to write as me; I’m part of a club of like-minded people who are awesomely cool, (a-k-a nerdy); I’ve finally found my clan!

In this time of unrestrained online diatribes, the positive memes these pages post are a refreshing change from the usual Facebook rants. (Why, exactly, does election year take two years to accomplish?) I often will share a meme that is either funny, or inspirational, or both. I was just about to click the like and share buttons on a meme I saw this week when I was brought up short. Something really bothered me about it, and I realized there I was, getting my political on.

The meme in question posted by Authors Publish Facebook page read, “Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream . . . the space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing: a door you’re willing to shut.” It was attributed to Stephen King, one of the most prolific and successful authors of our generation. And I love Stephen! His book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is one of my favorite go-to books when I need to be coached back on to the playing field.

On its surface, the statement made me feel warm and fuzzy. Yes, Stephen, I get what you’re saying! I absolutely should have my own private time and space to let my creative juices flow! But then it hit me, I’m a girl. And while I’m not saying I’m less able to carve out my writing time than the next guy, . . . well actually I am. The feminist in me had crawled out from behind the rock and was shouting at the top of her lungs!

You see, I’m a working mother and grandmother, with two (albeit “adult”) kids at home. I watch my granddaughters every other weekend so their dad can keep his job. I shop for groceries, I cook, I clean, and I do Mount Everests of laundry for the whole darn crew. My job puts me out of town more often than I like to be, and most of the time I’m running on empty.

Does Stephen King have it easier than me? I don’t know. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but my point here isn’t to suggest that just because he’s a man he has it easy. It’s more how women need to learn to say “no” more often. They need to learn how to close that door. Fellow female author friends also complain about feeling guilty when they carve time out away from their families to write. Why, oh why do we do this to ourselves?

Virginia Woolf’s remarkable 1929 treatise A Room of One’s Own, which she delivered to two female colleges at Cambridge University, argues that a woman writer just needs “. . . a room of her own and five hundred a year, . . . and she will write a better book one of these days.” I don’t know about you, but I would just like the time to indulge in one of the things that bring me joy.

What are your thoughts about finding the time to write? Do I have a point, or would you argue everyone, regardless of gender, is in the same boat? If you have any secret trick that frees up time, please do share below. We promise we’ll consider all advice even if it comes from a guy.

Right ladies? 😉

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