|A room of ones own?
Virginia Woolf was being
deliberately provocative when she said that a woman must have
money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction, but
in a way its true, and not just of women.
Money is important, so if
you have a day job, hang on to it, even if you do get published.
Then, if you start making money from writing, you may actually see
it mount up, rather than disappear as soon as it hits your bank
account. But you dont need money to write. You can make up
stories for nothing, write them down for next to nothing. Even typing
them up neednt cost a lot.
So do you need a room of
your own? If you have a family of small children demanding to be
fed, washed, clothed, put to bed, patched up, taken to school/swimming/kick-boxing
classes, have their nappies changed, whatever, then you doubtless
feel that you do; most writers need to be alone with their thoughts,
and, come to that, their mutterings and posturings as they act out
bits of business.
But all you really need
for that is solitude, and thats where early rising or late
retiring comes in. When the house is quiet, when the double-glazing
salesmen are tucked up in bed, when no one else is around, write.
It doesnt have to
be too demanding; you dont have to pass up too much sleep.
Two hundred and twenty words a day for one year adds up to an eighty-thousand
word novel. I know, because I did it. And while I dont claim
to have written a regulation two hundred words every session
I was never that organised I did do it, and so have many
I was a late retirer; my
ennobled colleague P D James was an early riser. I dont know
which end of the day he chose, but Colin Dexter wrote the Morse
books in his spare time, so it can be done, and done successfully.
By anyone. Woman, man,
teenager, nonagenarian, married, single, university graduate or
high school drop-out. Writing is by far the most accessible profession
in the world. Anyone can have a go.
With or without money and
a room of ones own.