You may or may not know the line made famous by Virginia Woolf while giving an address on the topic of women writers. She said, a century ago words that still hold true for so many writers (male and female) today:
"All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point—a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved."
In my case it hasn’t actually been the room or the time or the money. Most Saturdays for the last four years I’ve trudged up to the library and spread out my papers, books, pencils, files. And then been sucked into email for at least one of the four hours allotted to writing. Then the work messages I forgot to take care of; then the people who want to do a stop and chat. By the time I actually get any writing done, there’s an hour on the clock before I have to go and meet my husband somewhere for dinner or the movies or washing my hair.
Lack of discipline has been my problem. Close friends snort at this because I just had my first book published (non-fiction, a literary study of three Muslim women writers) and have co-edited two collections of essays in the past two years.
But the fact is my novel has suffered from this constant inattention of always being on the backburner and never having enough time if the library is not open.
So today, all this changes.
Because the desk that I bought four years ago is now clean. And I’m sitting behind it. With a computer, and the pencils, pens, books, notebooks and folders — all the accoutrement that I’ve been schleeping back and forth to the library. Right here in my own house.
But guests are coming in 20 minutes to say hi so it appears that things have not changed that much. I’ve been on the computer for three hours already.
So hopefully, since I’m caught up, tomorrow will be the first day of novel writing at home.
Do you have a desk of your own? Or other writing secrets?