In one of my college literature classes, I read A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. I loved that short book, somehow it called to me, even before I thought I could be a professional writer. It was before my brain could fathom that someone would want to buy my book. It was before I knew it was possible to make a living as a writer.
I mean come on, those writer people were truly gifted, talented and mysterious and I bet they could spell. They never failed a high school test even though they had all the right answers because if the word was spelled wrong it didn’t count.
Anyway, I digress. Even back then, over twenty years ago, my heart loved the idea of being a writer. This little book touched that heart. Made me think of the women that were more servants than wives, women who never had the opportunity to read let alone write, create, or build something of their own.
In a long essay that reads more like a conversation with women writers, well maybe society as a whole she explores why most of the great creators early on in human history were men.
Even though by today standards I’m not sure I’m a feminist, I do believe every child has a right to grow into the adult with equal choices and dreams. To fulfill a purpose only, they can do. Male or Female.
A Room of One’s Own covers her thoughts on society and art and sexism. Woolf, an English writer and one of the foremost modernists and critics of the twentieth century, has an utterly entertaining conversation with us as she walks through the European history of women in writing. With humor and tongue in cheek, she smoothly points out the success of the likes of William Shakespeare while lampooning the chauvinistic state of university education in the England of her day. Yes, women’s brains were thought to be too fragile to deal with complex reasoning.
She made the claim that to achieve their full greatness as writers, women need a solid income and privacy. Woolf pretty much invented modern feminist criticism.
Opportunity is what we need to succeed, and it is up to us to make that happen. To achieve my dreams, I found I needed a couple of things.
Did I need a place to write? Yes, but as the mother of four kids, that was not always easy. I made my quiet corner where I was at the time. My car was my quiet room when my kids were dependent on me for transportation.
Notebook in hand I write as I waited in the pick-up line or for the end of volleyball, football or basketball practice. I’d write as I waited for a track event to start. Play practice gave me a great deal of time.
During my thirty-minute lunch break, I write dialogue. I’d record notes on my smart phone as I shop or drive. I have learned to create my own room wherever I am. A few times I have treated myself to a little get-a-way…a writing retreat.
At home, I do have an office I could write in, but I prefer to be close to the family. So I have made a creative corner at the end of my dining table. With my Beats and storyboard, I’m good to go. The view is nice too.
Something else I needed was a supportive writing community that understands the business, and who knew the voices in my head were not weird.I have a local writing group, SARA, where I have met some of the people that have become my best friends. I attend a writer’s academy in Canyon, Texas – West Texas Writer’s Academy (hosted by Jodi Thomas and Tim Lewis) where I have met women who have become mentors and friends.
The right writing group will push you to do your best, support you when you fail (yes you will fail) and educate you to know how to reach your dreams and make them a reality.
As I was writing this I realized in my last book, The Soldier’s Surprise Family, my heroine has a room she turned into a ceramic studio. I gave her a room of her own, which is her special world that she invites the hero into and shares with his traumatized son. It becomes a place of healing for all of them.
Do you have a passion that needs your time to come to life? Do you give so much to others you don’t have time for your own dreams? Do you have that special space or group of like minds that inspire and lift you up? If not, what is your passion and what could you do to make it happen this year?