Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Room of Our Own

"Every female writer should have a good wife" - I’ve heard that said a few times about the problems married women sometimes face when trying to devote enough time to their craft. Virginia Wolfe recognised the problem long ago when she advocated that a woman writer should have "a room of one’s own".
I have a good, supportive husband, but I’ve had to train him along the way! Not with helping around the house – he’s better than many women at housework. It’s that problem writers sometimes have when partnered with a non-writer, if they don't fully understand our need for uninterrupted space and time, whether thinking or writing. It was fine when husband went to work from 8am until 6pm, and the growing children were at school. But a few years ago, on the same week our youngest finally moved out to a flat of her own, husband started working from home.
So I hit upon a plan: since he’s a much earlier riser than me and works upstairs, while I work downstairs, I asked him not to talk to me on weekday mornings. Sometimes we speak in passing, but mostly he stays upstairs at his desk and I stay in my study, and never the twain shall meet – until lunch time.  Fortunately, he gets engrossed in his own work and peace reigns, until he has a problem or question that won’t wait. After 36 years of marriage and countless years of child-rearing, I reckon I deserve that room of my own. But I wonder what will happen when we downsize in the next year or two - watch this space!
Dangerous Deceit, Champagne Books and Amazon


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Okay, we'll be watching your progress. My husband is very good about not interrupting me before lunch. He was forced into retirement at an early age, and 16 years later, we still give each other privacy.

In the US, we say when a man retires: "You married him for love, but not for lunch."

Anonymous said...

Hate to break your bubble but I have the same problem, and my spouse is a female, so don't think its just a guy thing rather the need for attention and love from ones mate. Least that's what I tell myself as she interrupts me for a dozen honey do's or "Guess what I just heard on TV".

I've discovered the best uninteruptable period is 4 AM to 8AM while she still sleeps. Keeps peace in the house (g).

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Loved your comments, Julie and Big Mike - thank you! I guess it's the same for any writer of either gender.

January Bain said...

My husband and I both hold day jobs (we both teach together at our local high school) and yet, with finesse, we have managed to find the quiet time both of us require to work in the evening and weekends at home. In our case, I think it's that we like quiet time to think and reflect. I also write before he gets up in the morning, which helps! Don't know what will happen when we retire. Too far away to project!

Linda Kage said...

Oh, what a lovely plan. I totally agree; we authors need uninterrupted time and space to write. Now if only I could get my two-year-old to respect that creed!!!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for commenting, January and Linda - it's all about compromise, isn't it.

Linda - I think you'll have to wait a while before little Lydia will understand!

Sandra Cormier said...

I have the evenings to myself (for now) but the distractions of prime time television are sabotaging my efforts. I'd love to have my own little space, surrounded by inspiration.

In the meantime, I'm muddling through.

Linda Rettstatt said...

I live alone (well, except for the cat who can be bough with a bit of kibble). So I have an entire apartment to myself. I still find ways to get distracted--internet, email, TV, checking the contents of the fridge to see if anyone snuck in and stole something in the last fifteen minutes :) But I'm beginning to see the benefit of having a set work space for writing.