Writing Sheds As Sacred Spaces

by Laurel Dowswell

Image via Flickr by Ian Rees
Image via Flickr by Ian Rees

Simple spaces can often be a haven for creatives. Birthed as potent observers, writers and artists take in the world and chew on the aroma of freshly-baked bread, the screeching tires from distracted drivers, the glaring graphics on billboards blasting specials on chicken sandwiches, and use them as tablespoons of this and that for self-expression. Having a quiet place to sort out all that stimuli can be a true gift, and new designs of writing sheds are popping up to cater to a dire need to escape from shouting digital screens and the multitudes of sensory stimuli in our daily lives.

This type of structure is a well-travelled tradition from Henry David Thoreau to Dylan Thomas, from Roald Dahl to Virginia Woolf. The physical space transcends the mental arena to foster the flowing of ideas in a very personal way. Many times, they are simply adorned to allow for the imagination to channel characters, philosophies, or even just ramblings as a path to something more cohesive and well-formed. Others may be filled with varied accoutrements or visual art as inspiration; or perhaps as a comfort in the solitude. There, the inhabitant sits, lining it with words as a bird lines its house with twigs. Building inside a building.

Modern designs have come a long way from storybook square rooms with creaking wooden floorboards. But the intention is still the same. Virginia Woolf didn’t have an iPhone or a hoverboard or other modern necessities/distractions, but she still understood the need to find a safe physical and emotional place to create an opening for discovery and craft building.

As the year comes to a close, it is a natural time to reflect. Whether it is a writing shed in the middle of a Brooklyn garden, or a simple desk in an apartment with a window view, finding that sacred space to call your own is a gift. Breathe. Ponder. Listen. Create.




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