Literary Reflections is pleased to announce this month’s featured writing prompt Selected Short. Each month we will choose one submission to appear as a short on our blog. Check out our section for more information on how to be considered for future Selected Shorts.
In March’s prompt, we asked readers “What do you imagine your most conducive writing situation would look like? In what environment do you feel like you’ve done your best and/or most creative writing?”
Loida Casares Ruiz wrote,
“Virginia Woolf’s famous quote is: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” I thought of this quote when I read Terri G. Scullen’s essay, “Green Means Go.”
I believe Virginia Woolf whole-heartedly and since I already have the money part (I work full-time) I figured the room part wouldn’t be too hard, especially now that my kids aren’t babies anymore. I set up a desk in my upstairs guest room and told my husband that once a week I was going to retreat into my room to write. I surrounded myself with some Maya Angelou quotes and a print of the Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens. I pictured myself sitting in this room writing a great novel. It didn’t quite work out that way.
First there were the children. No matter how much we told them it was my writing time, they chose to ignore it and they insisted on coming upstairs, breaking my concentration. It’s hard to reason with a five and two year old, the ages they were at the time.
Next I tried to get away once a week to write, but that was short lived. By the time I drove out somewhere, or dropped the kids off and picked them up, I felt like the process took too long. I might as well stay at home and write, I reasoned. I would actually get more writing time on a good day when the children kept busy.
Finally I gave up and started writing in my kitchen. Far away enough from the television in the living room, but close enough when needed. This is how I finally finished writing my novel. I clicked away on my laptop, while listening to the sounds of the children and my husband in the background. Sometimes my little one would wander in and would climb on my lap or would stand on my chair behind me and would pat me on my shoulders. But when I was in the zone it didn’t matter. I kept right on writing.
In my dreams my room upstairs is a perfect oasis. It’s decorated with prints from all of my favorite artists and quotes by writers. Patchouli candles are burning and the lighting is just right. I lock myself in for one hour every night with my laptop to weave my words. No one comes in to bother me and I have a whole glorious hour to myself. This would be my perfect writing environment.
The truth is, now I write at my desk top computer almost every night for one hour, in the middle of the house. I write almost every day. Because when you have that fire burning in your belly you can’t help but write. I read about a new author in Book Magazine who wrote her first novel while rocking her newborn in a baby swing. It can be done.”
By Loida Casares Ruiz