April 23, 2018

To Create Amid Uncertainty

Virginia Woolf said that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.

I often come across this quote on social media, and it always stirs something in my chest. Perhaps because I had very little money for many years (which is often what happens when you have children early, and I regret nothing) and I still don’t have a room of my own. In addition, for the last ten years I have moved five times, of which 3 have been to another continent, and four to another country. I have lived in the US, Sweden, Indonesia and now, Malaysia, and I am tremendously grateful for all the experiences I have gained, thanks to my husband’s work, which takes us across the globe.

The way this expat-life works, is that our contract has to be renewed every year, and we consequently never know more than, and often less than, a year in advance where we are going to live. Of these past ten years, we have lived two in our native Sweden, and close to seven years in Asia.

Often have I felt a yearning for my own space to create in, a place that is constant. I dream of writing in front of a window with a view to a meadow, or the ocean. I can certainly understand why Virginia Woolf felt the way she did in her day, long before laptops and internet.

And I feel there is more to a room of one’s own, than the physical space. I feel that Virginia probably meant that we need peace of mind, the kind of peace that money and a room of one’s own can give, that will let the writer immerse herself in her work completely.

But unless we become John Donne’s famous “island”, we will always have things on our minds, important things, and less important. Life is a constant change, full of anxiety, worry, uncertainty, health issues, I guess even with “money and a room” of one’s own.

Even writing itself is full of uncertainty. Will this piece of writing fulfil my expectations? Will it find a home in the publishing world? Will people like it?

I have found that when I focus on writing for myself, I can concentrate better on the work, and it becomes more enjoyable. It is also easier to shut out the anxiety that is inherent in writing, as well as the uncertainties that come from living in a foreign country. When I feel passionate about a writing project, I let that passion guide me into the text, where I can forget all worries, and just create. Then creating becomes a refuge, something constant amid the ever-changing. All these years, no matter how little money, or how little space I’ve had, I have always had writing, like an anchor in a turbulent sea. And for this I am so very grateful.

Love,

Lene



Comments (10)

  • Livet är spännande – med eller utan eget rum så är du en duktig författare! Nu njuter jag av ett eget rum efter att barnen flyttat hemifrån. Kram Eva

    • Tack snälla Eva! Och vad härligt att du nu kan ha ett eget rum. Det kanske kommer för mig också så småningom. 🙂 Kram!

  • Rotlöshet kan komma i olika former. Så fint att du finner trygghet i ditt eget inre kreativa rum, där du av ord skapar meningar o texter som lyfter o inspirerar läsarna o du gör det så bra!!! Många kramar

  • Du skriver så BRA! Vilken fantastisk engelska du har… så mkt bättre än de flesta engelsktalande! 😀 Tänkte att du kanske skulle vilja veta att två av mina vänner berättade för mig igår hur mkt de älskade din bok. Den ena har redan skrivit recension, den andra ska göra det. Hon sa att när du skrev om hur du kände dig, så blev hon helt utmattad själv, så bra beskrivet var det (så kände jag också). Vi ser alla fram emot att läsa nästa bok. Älskar även att läsa om dina expat-äventyr och -funderingar, eftersom jag är i samma, om än något annorlunda, sits… 🙂 Kram!

    • Yay, tack för självförtroende-boosten och vad roligt att höra att dina vänner tyckte om boken! Recensioner är super-välkommet, tack så mycket för all din support Theresa! Stor kram!

  • Hi Lene. It’s been such a long time!

    I know what you mean. Writing is one of the most uncertain activities which ever excisted, but I do think, like you, that when we do it for ourselves, it becomes a refuge instead.
    That’s why I think that even when we write for an audience, we should always remember that we are part of that audience as well, in a way. The story should say something to us, should stir emotion inside us. I suppose what’s I’m trying to say is that we should always remain true to ourselves. Then writing becomes a path of healing.

    • Hi Sarah, lovely to hear from you again! And yes, in my experience too, writing can become a path to healing, I loved those words that you used. Thank you for stopping by and I wish you much joy in your writing as well as life! Hugs.

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