Writer's Room


There's a wonderful series about writers' rooms at the Guardian that I think everyone should check out. The series explores the intimate rooms that writers like Charles Darwin and Charlotte Bronte spent most of their hours, producing most of their best works.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf had a small writing room in the garden constructed out of a wooden tool shed below a loft. She wrote there in the summers, and liked it very much, though it was not ideal for concentration.

Ten years later, the "writing lodge", as she called it, was moved down to the far end of the garden, under the chestnut tree next to the flint churchyard wall. In this writer's lodge, Woolf wrote parts of all her major novels from Mrs Dalloway to Between the Acts, many essays and reviews, and many letters. This was where Leonard came out in July 1931 to tell her that The Waves, which he had just finished reading, was a masterpiece. This was where she struggled for months on end with The Years, trying to cut down on her smoking (from six or seven to one a morning in 1934). This was where, on Friday March 28, 1941, on a cold spring morning, she wrote a farewell letter to Leonard before walking down to the River Ouse, leaving her papers in disarray, with several revisions of her last essay on Mrs Thrale in the waste-paper basket and immense numbers of typewritten sheets lying about the room.

With any craft whether it be writing, drawing, painting or sculpting, I think the space in which a person feels most comfortable to let creativity take control of their body, mind and soul and produce physical reflections of these abstract ideas is crucial to perfect. Sometimes I think that I'm too particular about how high my chair is in relation to my desk, how comfortably my arms rest on my desk while writing, what music is playing in the background, how the lighting is, what colors surround my space, etc. But in reality, these things need to feel perfect at the time so that I can be creative and comfortable enough to explore. Obviously, what's perfect one day isn't perfect the next...it's all about what feels perfect in the moment.

I think it's very interesting to look at these writers' rooms. After all, these rooms were probably where they spent most of their time and most likely in isolation. The walls of these rooms probably saw many tears, heard many crazy laughs and observed people teetering on the brink of insanity.

I really encourage you to check it out. It's quite amazing and there are more than 30 writers featured!


1 comment :

PJ Fong said...

Great post! It'd be so nice to have an art studio in a shed :)