“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
This famous quote comes from Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own. It makes sense that writers would need to have their own room to write in. A place where you can go and shut your door, be alone, and concentrate. But is it necessary? Not to all. Some writers, like my husband, and Dickens, for that matter, write at the kitchen table.
“Virginia Woolf was wrong,” Julia Glass told New York magazine when they interviewed her in her 700 square foot apartment in the West Village (which she shared with her husband and two sons), “you do not need a room of your own to write.” Glass wrote Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award, at her kitchen table. (Read full interview here.) Other writers get more done outside of home. They write in cafés, writers’ spaces, leased office spaces, retreat centers and hotel rooms. JD Salinger wrote in a fortified outpost he built down the road from his house and John Cheever, dressed up in a suit, headed to a corner of his basement.
I think having a regular place to show up is the most important thing, be it the turret, a room of your own, the kitchen table or a hotel room. If the place is regular, then there’s more likelihood you will write, and there’s a stronger chance the muse will show up too! The muse likes regularity and structure.