What's with writers & their spaces, anyway?
You know that mythical perfect spot you imagine will make writing easy and comforting and PERFECT? Well...it's not real. You can't find a place that will magic away the difficulties of writing, but the yearning for a perfect writers' space endures.
We all still covet it and dream about it, don't we? And it's not just us beginners and journeymen who love our writing space. Many famous and accomplished writers derive pleasure and comfort from the space they use for writing too.
From Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" - to Wallace Stevens, who composed poetry on his walk to work. From Raold Dahl, who wrote in a tiny shed behind his home to Ernest Hemingway who made his corner stool famous at La Floridita in Havana.
Margaret Forster was quoted in an article in the Guardian about how her writing space works for her - as a person with all kinds of life going on around her that could threaten to distract:
"The minute I walk into this room of my own, I swear I become a different person. The wife, the mother, the granny, the cook, the cleaner – all vanish. For two or three hours only the writer is left."
- Margaret Forster
It's a beautiful and almost Pavlovian response. She walks in, and her mind and creativity wake up, because this is their home and playroom and workroom - all in one.
Your Writing Space is Legitimately important - because SCIENCE!
If you search a second online or in psychology journals, you'll find the importance of space on how the brain functions. Everything from the colour of the walls to the smells in the space or the height of the ceilings can affect your mind. And plants! They all say we need more plants.
That can put some pressure on you though, right?
Especially if you aren't in a situation where you can create a perfectly lit space, with no distractions and a direct view of nature. A room with walls painted the colour of imagination and carpeted with focus-inducing texture doesn't come cheap. The internet democratized writing for all of us. Didn't it?I refuse to make writing into an elite activity, reserved for fancy-pantsers with oak walled studies and working fireplaces - or airy lofts with the perfect chair and floor to ceiling windows.Click To Tweet
Developing a writing practice & claiming a space of any size or colour or shape in your life that is dedicated to that practice? That is what it takes to be a writer - not a fancy studio or study.
Your space can be a shoulder bag you keep your laptop and notepads in for your weekly jaunt to the café. It can be the tray you keep your candle and notebook in beside the couch where you curl up to free-write every morning. Or a book and pen you keep at your desk at work, with a timer you set to give yourself a moment for journalling.
Your writing space is something claim to tell yourself & the world around you that your writing is important enough to have its own space.
Just making that decision, and taking that space, will change the way you feel about sitting down in it to write. It becomes an act of rebellion against all of the things that may distract you from your Voice. And an act of courage standing in the face of those who might judge it.
When I claim a space for my writing - physically in my home or in the world around me - it changes my relationship to writing. It becomes something I owe attention to, and something that cannot be taken from me. It's MINE, and it is important; it has a sense of permanence and so too does my commitment to it.
And the coolest thing? It becomes used! I start writing and revelling in it, and the space becomes even more mine and comforting.
So take space in your home and life and time - and take space in the conversation happening around you. Because every one who wants to create both deserves and needs a room of one's own to do so - just like Virginia Woolf said.
Join the #30DaysWithaK challenge today, and find your Space and Voice with us!
We spend the first 5 days of the Challenge thinking about and working toward making a space where our writing practice feels good.
It's a free challenge designed to help you create a writing practice you love and trust in the Voice you have - in 30 days.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Join me next week for the next post in this series about developing a Writing Practice. The next piece we'll talk about is all about rhythm and routine, so get your tap shoes ready (ba-dum pshhhh).