Virginia Woolf once said: A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. I'm not sure I agree with that but I do know that any creative activity is nurtured by a room of one's own. I think the creative process is more than a space though. I know when I started writing my blog, I did so in our noisy lounge room and that was far from private or my own. Moving to another room gave me the impetus I needed to improve my blog writing and express my creativity in different ways. I was encouraged to commit to the work of the blog and the room itself gave me a place where I could sit and think before I typed.
For over a decade I wrote on a second-hand, chipped, melamine desk that pinched my arms when I leant on it. I wrote Down to Earth and The Simple Life at that desk sitting on a third-hand chair. You're lucky you were out of ear shot because I let rip at that desk a few times.
And then I decided I needed a change and that I spent a lot of time at that desk and should enjoy being there. I talked to Hanno about it and started planning.
I've set up my room mainly for writing and sewing. I have my computer at one end and the sewing machine at the other. It's just the right combination for me. I bought two small chests of drawers from Ikea and that is where most of my sewing, computer and writing accessories are. Two small kitchen tables, side by side, have given me enough work space to comfortably work at both ends.
When Tricia was here she tidied out my fabric stockpile cupboard. It feels good to have space for the fabric away from ribbons, lace, buttons and embroidery paraphernalia. As my grandmother would have said: a place for everything and every thing in its place. I wonder how long it will stay like that. I have good intentions, very good intentions, but with fast days slipping away towards deadlines, good intentions are sometimes not enough. At least I know it won't take much to clean up.
That's the new book document on the computer screen. When I finish writing this chapter I have three more to write, and four more to read and approve the editing. It's been a tight schedule but I work better under pressure and the structured writing program has helped a lot. Otherwise I would have been faffing around making excuses to go into the garden or to sew for a while.
There will be time enough for all those things in July and beyond when the writing is complete and I return to being a full time homemaker. Then it will be a better balance of writing and sewing which I can imagine myself doing for a long time to come in this beautiful room we've created here.
But in all those years when I didn't have my own room I was still creative and looking for places to express it in a realistic way. You have to be able to do that until you have the good fortune to have a room of your own. If you look at two photos up, there is a wooden box at the end of the desk. I have that there because I'm making up a sewing kit to have in the lounge room. I want to be able to work there as well, especially when Jamie is here. If you don't have a space to call your own, claim some. All you need is a spot where there is a place you can sit and work on your crafts, or just to relax and have a cup of tea. There will probably come a day when you will have your own room, maybe like I did when your children leave home and there are spare bedrooms. In the meantime though, take time for yourself wherever you can to express your creativity, to plan your next work project or just to relax and calm down.
I haven't quite finished my room yet. There is still a bit of fluffing I want to do. But there is no need to rush, this room will be here for a long time.