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The Ellipses Blog . . .

Everything you don't know about editing but are afraid to ask*

*And some other helpful stuff, too

  • Writer's pictureJennifer Walker

A Room of One's Own

room of one's own Jennifer Walker freelance editor
The after shot! My daughter re-upholstered that blue chair (my grandfather's).

Even if you haven't read the Virginia Woolf essay, you are probably familiar with this concept (particularly if you are a woman). In it, Woolf spoke of the importance of a literal and figurative space for women writers. If you've ever tried to write something more involved than a grocery list while seated in the center of your own home, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

As a homeschooling mother of four for many years, a room of my own was ridiculously out of reach. I was seeing to the education of my children - how was I going to do that from a room where I was alone?

Eventually, though, the kids got older. They became more independent. They left for college. (And then covid, and everyone moved back home, right after we prematurely downsized to a much smaller house. Oops.)

But even as the house got emptier, I still struggled with creative writing at the kitchen table. How could I justify writing when there was a dishwasher to empty, or tufts of dog hair blowing around on the floor, or a load of laundry to fold? Interruptions were brutal, ripping me out of any imaginary space I'd managed to put myself in, and getting back in after fielding an innocuous "Mom, can I finish the strawberries?" was impossible.

What I did find myself with more of was time - which only made the lack of space that much more frustrating. I tried a few different things - don't talk to me if I'm typing while seated here, or writing from the floor of my closet (talk about mess as a distraction), or writing from a Starbucks (so many people, so few outlets, and only one locked bathroom) - but they didn't work for me.

Finally, though. Finally. Finally I commandeered our backyard shed.

It's conveniently located on our property, as far from the house as you could put it, but the wifi signal reaches it (usually). And it has electricity already installed, which is key, because this is Phoenix and in the summer it gets HOT. Dry heat is still heat when it's 115 and you're sitting in an uninsulated box in full sun.

room of one's own Jennifer Walker freelance proofreader
Did I mention it's in full sun?

room of one's own Jennifer Walker freelance editor
There was just a little bit of stuff that needed re-homing.

room of one's own Jennifer Walker freelance proofreader
Empty! But in need of cleaning and painting.

I've only been in here for a week and we haven't hit the peak temps of summer. Even with the AC running full tilt while I'm in here, I'm still not able to stay past about noon.

But I don't care. I'm willing to be a little sweaty if I can have a space of my own. One where I can hang ideas on the wall, or thank you notes from happy clients, or style sheets for a current project. And one in which I can travel to imaginary places in my head and write them down. Uninterrupted.

Bonus - I have been so very productive, even with my shortened day. I come out here first thing in the morning and just do my thing - with no interruptions - until lunchtime. Three hours of focused time is miles more productive than eight hours at the kitchen island.

If you're on the fence about seizing a space in your home for your writing - do it! You'll be amazed at the difference it will make in not only your writing but your own opinion of the importance of you writing.

This post doesn't have much to say professionally. I didn't talk about editing and proofreading and how excited I would be to do that with you. But I wanted visitors to know that I have this space devoted to all things words. Stop by for a visit. Bring your stories. If you come in person, though, wear shorts.


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