Juggling the Creative Life? Kimberly interviews Virginia Woolf for some writerly advice

Virginia Woolf

When I officially became a writer and editor, formalizing the fact of my vocation on my business card, I kind of stopped writing. Of course, on the surface, my most cherished dream began to materialize all around me… I’d worked in the publishing world for over ten years, but now I was writing for a living.

I sculpted blurb copy, researched and composed feature articles, translated dense land-use policy and encyclopedic entries, ghostwrote business books, organized marketing and publicity plans, white papers and other specialty publications and countless other projects, all of which expanded my skill-base, which I took increasing pride in. But from the second I gave notice at my day job and pursued a freelance life, I hardly allowed myself to “write” so much as one innocent stanza of one measly poem, let alone freestyle prose.

Maybe because I knew that one line was enough to leave me staring all too intensely at a non-income-generating screen for days.

Dangerous! And I had a point to prove, success to demonstrate. I wanted to make a living “by my wits and my words” and as Virginia Woolf pointed out in A Room of One’s Own, “money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for.”


But on a deliciously silent night, unpaid frivolity called me back, and I began to break my creative fast. In a hot blur, phrases, stories and words swooshed up and down my spine and billowed smoke-like into the six tiny layers of my cerebral cortex. I was…Back.

But dang it, if the creative force isn’t/wasn’t/ in my case, will always be: messy.

Beyond the subterranean portal of my computer and my journal, books everywhere and scattered notes, words filtered into my dreams, forced me to pull over while I was driving, distracted me while I was cooking, walking, talking, working out at the gym.