“A woman must have money and a room of her own
if she is to write fiction.”
Virginia Woolf wrote these words almost a hundred years ago, but they still ring true today. Woolf’s famous essay discusses a woman’s need to have an individual space. To have access to money and education. To have autonomy.
The act of writing is a solitary pursuit. You can share ideas, let someone read your work, but the act of writing—the magical act of putting words to paper—is wholly individual. No one can write words into your mouth.
Writing is hard. It takes effort and disciple. The act of writing must be fought for as life makes other demands. Finding the right words is hard enough. When the children are crying, when the car breaks down, when your husband demands attention, it all forces the mind to think of something other than our stories. Have you ever tried to write in a living room with a barking dog and a kindergartener?
To allow a story to reveal itself, a writer needs no distractions. We must let the mind wander—just enough—so that the story can step forward of its own accord.
It is 2020 and women still fight for independence and autonomy. We still are constrained by the expectation that our time is less valuable and our skills are less worthy. Each and every one of us still searches for the Room of Our Own, where we can exist freely and create without inhibitions.
On this anniversary of Woolf’s birthday, we are making an effort to preserve our creative independence, like the many female authors before us.
You can read A Room of One’s Own from Project Gutenberg Australia. Interested in more great content? Follow UNG Press on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and find our complete catalog on our homepage.