In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote and delivered her famous lecture “A Room of One’s Own” to an assembly of university students in which she states that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
A notable amount of analysis is in print about the themes suggested by her lecture–the five hundred pounds, women’s access to education, women’s writing, writing about women, and so on. I won’t go there right now. However, what I found amazing is in 1929 the value of 500 British pounds equaled approximately $30,000.00 US dollars; today the value is around $300,000.00. What confounds me is $30,000.00 was a LOT of money at that time and how she could think the average woman could enjoy this amount of security. But then, Virginia Woolf came from a well-to-do family and her husband, Leonard, had money and a printing business. I don’t believe she ever worried about money.
But, I was most interested in Virginia’s writing place which was situated in a little cottage of sorts out in the garden behind her country residence in Sussex, England. Simply furnished, she sat at a plain desk in a plain chair with her favorite pads of paper and pens spread out before her. This was Virginia’s “power spot.”
While researching for this blog post I searched the Internet for information on your “power spot” and I discovered that—simply—it is that special place where you feel most like yourself. The place (inside or outside) that makes you feel secure and comfortable. Where, as you are settled in, your creative ideas burst forth. Where you “must” be in order to accomplish your best thinking, etc.
I have that spot. No, it isn’t in the “room of my own.” My Elfa office were I have everything I could want to be a productive writer. My desktop computer, printer, scanner, music, reference books, whatever waits for me. It waits, and waits and waits. But, I just can’t sit in there. No matter what I tell myself. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t “feel” right when I’m there. I have concluded that—for me—the main reason I avoid it is this perfect writing place is because sitting there reminds me too much of my real job—the one that I have been going to for almost 35 years. Word and Excel all day long, filing, emailing, proposals, presentations, etc. Get the picture?
Instead I take my laptop to my “spot” in my comfy living room on the left side of my even more comfortable sofa. This is where I can view the outside and where I enjoy my bookshelf. It is said when you keep coming back to the same place it literally creates an energy vortex around it. Absolutely true. Whenever I sit there I definitely feel the energy. I get ideas. I write.
As much as I am convinced of the perfectness of this idea, my theory was recently challenged. I was mousing around the other day and landed on a unique blogsite called “Wellness for Writers.” A contributor stated that it wasn’t a good idea to spend too much time in one spot. I panicked. It seems my “power spot,” my “creativity place,” my favorite place to sit and write might not be such a good idea after all. According to the post, unless you force yourself to get out of your comfort zone your creativity will suffer. When you get too comfortable, too secure in your “place” you miss out on all the challenges and adventures life holds for you.
So, now what do I do? It does make sense. (I’m going to sit in my “spot” and think about it.)