Feb 24, 2012

The 'Room of One's Own' Needs a Name! by Natalie Anderson

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
So said Virginia Woolf. Well, happily hubby and I both earn, so I'm not starving :) - but for the last five years, in which I've written twenty books, there has definitely been no room of my own. We have four kids and during this period lived in four different houses (plus a couple of months homeless and crashing with family after earthquake damage to the house we had been in). And there was no 'room to write' in any of these houses - unless you count the laundry in one!

I did used to get up super early and sit just in front of the washing machine in that tiny room and tap away at the keyboard. I wrote in the car, in bed, at the kitchen table, in the car, at any cafe that would let me, in the car, I even went and spent a couple of night's at a holiday park locked up in a cabin to get a book finished once. But in recent time it was mostly the car - a portable office! My husband reckons I was the romance writing equivalent of 'The Lincoln Lawyer' - though I had no driver and only one car! I liked to go and park up somewhere scenic - either the beach or the Botanic gardens - somewhere green and with water nearby. But I've got to be honest, it was cramped (even though given there are six of us in the family, it's a fairly large car), it got hot and I got a bit sick of it.

Anyway, I'm so thrilled to finally be back in our own home in Christchurch to the wee house I just love. There still isn't a study/room to write, but what there is, is a tiny creek crossing the front corner of our section. About five years ago the council came along and did a beautification programme - gently landscaping the flow of the creek, putting in a new bridge and designing a native plant setting.

Here we are five years ago when the council put in
the new bridge. The kids LOVED watching
the digger every day so we had a 'construction' birthday
party for one of them :)
Well five years on and the plants were a bit of a jungle! But I loved them - kind of like a very mini Bot garden all of our own. And that's when I got the idea to put a teeny tiny shed out there. I'm used to the car, right?! I don't need a LOT a space - just something cute and with that view :)

So I got on the internet and found the perfect 'shed' and my WonderHubs (who loves a project) got busy...

Preparing the platform...
The platform (and little deck) is ready!

Getting the shed from the freight depot.
Unloading the shed.

My friend and her hubby came round.
I confess my friend and I went shopping -
came back two hours later and voila!!!

Making the roof weathertight (v. impt!)
Looking across to
The Far Side' of the creek.

And now - lunch is ready!

I go through the hebe bushes, down the little path, across the stepping stones over the creek (all two of them), then up onto the 'far side' to the shed. There are bright blue dragonflies whizzing round, I have a gang of six regular ducks, several neighbourhood cats, native birds drawn to the trees (and the feed I put in the trees for them), cockabullies (tiny fish) in the creek PLUS a rather large eel living between a couple of rocks that I discovered only the other day.

I do think I'm the luckiest writer in the world to have my shed. I am SO ecstatic and have become such a bore talking about it! So sorry - but let me just this week as it only went up last weekend so it is very new and exciting :) The kids in the neighbourhood all love it too. I think it's wonderfully hilarious that the reaction from writer friends and kids has been just the same - pure enjoyment :)

One very happy writer.
But I do need your help!!! My question now is WHAT TO CALL THE SHED?!?!?! My mother thinks it should be  'One's Own' - referencing that Woolf quote. Hubby thinks it should be 'Dun Roamin' - as I'm now permanently parked up. A friend on Facebook says it should be a 'Chalet' not a 'Shed', another says it should be 'The Love Shack'. What do you think???

PLEASE! I'd love you to LEAVE A SUGGESTION in the comments for a name for my shed - and be in the draw to win a copy of my e-book MELT. I can't wait to see some of your ideas!!!

Thanks so much!

p.s. I don't have any interior pics here today (let's face it, I've already ODed on the pics today) BUT I was going to take some this morning and put them on my Facebook page  if you're interested :)


  1. Hi Natalie - that was fantastic to watch your 'shed' come to life! You're going to be even more prolific not having to drive off anywhere for some peace and quiet. Happy days! For you and us, your readers! :)

    ps - Still like "The Love Shack" although your chalet is far from being a shack!

  2. Fred the Shed. Or Ned the Shed :-)

  3. Harlequin NZ HQ, Or Anderson HQ

    Then officially the ducks are allowed in.

  4. YOU are the one who keeps calling it a shed, so methinks you'll always think of it as such.
    That being said, the only name that comes to mind is "The Plotting Shed"! Some people plot gardens; you plot stories. Easy schmeezy.

  5. It's a beauty! I vote for The Love Shack, (and now I'll be singing that B52's song all day long! )

  6. Natalie what a great story - but I for one am going to check out the ones on the inside, and maybe the inside view looking out! LOL (call me nosy!)
    I like Love Shack too, but think your husband's name is pretty cute too (after all he built it) *g*

  7. I looooove your new writing retreat. What a wonderful and clever hubby you have to build it.

    Enjoy!! May the next 20 books be more easily written in your beautiful new "my place" than the last 20.

  8. Natalie - you have a Yurt!! How fabulous is that. May your muse flow in your wonderful new writing home. Looking forward to seeing the inside too.

  9. Looks great!
    How about the cottage, my retreat or the guest house?

  10. I love this! And I really enjoyed following the journey with these photos.

    Re: a name - since you call it The Shed now, I think you should stick to the same rhythm or you'll probably fall back into The Shed anyway.

    My faves from the suggestions so far are The Cottage, The Yurt, The Chalet or The Retreat.

    Can't wait to hear what you choose!

  11. Congratulations Natalie! What a beautiful writing abode! A gorgeous location and shed. No wonder you're happy. The pictures are beauties.

    I love your fish name. So what about Cockabullie Retreat?


  12. Natalie, I love your "room of your own" and I loved watching its progression from idea to finished product! I hope you christened it with champagne, and that you get to spend many wonderful hours within it's walls.

    Hmm, names are very important. So a few suggestions (gleaned from your story above)

    Duck End
    Bridge House
    The Construction Zone
    Rolls Royce

    Or, if you want something completely fanciful... The Magic Faraway Tree. :-)

  13. Hi LaVerne - thanks so much, I'm so thrilled with it. Think you're right about 'chalet' rather than shed or shack!

  14. LOL Jill - Fred or Ned is cute - for some odd reason I quite like Doris too!!!

  15. LOL Joanne! Got to confess 'HQ' sounds a little too scary formal... I'm aiming for a little more casual!

  16. What about The Creation Station? That might be a bit long...or the Space Ship? The Time Machine? I love the idea that you can get in your space ship and travel through time and space to create wonderful stories and then come back to earth and family life again!

    Thanks for this truly inspirational post, Natalie. I too am a mother of four kids who dreams of being a published author. I sometimes wonder if I'm mad to cherish dreams like this for myself. You've just shown me that a woman can have four children and still be a prolific and published author. I'm really getting to love visiting this Love Cats blog - such great discussions here and so much inspiration.

    Enjoy your shed. You've earned it!

  17. Hi Laney - I know I call it the shed but that is the name it was when I ordered it... it's a temporary one :) I'd quite like to get a sign - lol! But the Plotting Shed is VERY clever! Hubster loves that one :)

  18. Aimee - it IS a great song isn't it!!!! I'm not sure I can call it that though... the neighbours might get the wrong idea!!! :)

  19. Mel - did you see the interior ones on Facebook!? Put some up of the view just for you :)

  20. Joanne D - I would LOVE it if the next 20 were a little easier!!! ;) Here's hoping! :)

  21. LOL - Helen - a Yurt! Love it :) And yes - come lovely Muse, come take up residence with me and the eel! ;)

  22. Love your shed, Natalie!!! (And love the series of photos!) The name that springs to mind is 'stuga' which is Swedish for little cottage or shed. (I've stayed in quite a few, in my time.) If I had a writing shed, that's what I'd call it -- the stuga, or lilla stuga (which means 'little cottage'). I hope you have loads of fun writing there -- it looks idyllic!!

  23. Hi Chey! Ooh I'm liking the cottage particularly - it's very cute sounding - so is retreat - love the idea of a retreat!!!

  24. Hi Rachel!!! I'm so glad you've enjoyed looking at it too - Its sick how much I've been talking about it to random strangers here! LOL
    Honestly, it's only been the shed this week (it's only been UP this week - ha!) and the other name that's been used a lot is the 'Wendy House' - because all my neighbours thought it was a Wendy House for the kids - but really it's a Wendy House for me ;)

  25. Hi Cath - oh that's a good one - I love Cockabully too, is such afunny word :)

  26. Hi Michelle - ooh I'm loving Duck End - lol! This is getting REALLY tricky!!!!!

  27. Hi Maria! Nice to meet you - I'm so pleased you found this post inspiring - that's super :) Don't EVER give up your dreams - they can and do come true. Must say I do like the idea of it being some kind of magic place away from home to travel to (ok a bit of an escape!) - hence going over to the 'far side' :)

  28. Hey Emily!!!! Yes it IS actually Swedish!!!! Was made there :) I have a friend who lived there a year on an exchange and she came round the other day and was reliving her trip - she said they often painted them red with white trim! ;)
    Love Stuga - except I'm sure I'd be saying it wrong.
    And you're quite the well-travelled one, you are!!!!

  29. Okay, casual it is then, so how about
    Chalet Adore (shall I adore)
    Nature's Haven (a play on Nat's haven+ducks)
    Duck's Fancy (ducks would fancy to get in)
    Haven House (because now you have a haven)
    Hideaway House (because all those plants will grow)

  30. Oooh Joanne - there are some good ones there too!!! Must say its pretty hard to choose to be honest. I am going to confer with the Wonderhubs and the kids... might have to name our patch of the creek too so we get to use more than one of these dab ideas!!!

  31. Congrats Natalie for such a lovely writing spot.
    You are very fortunate that your hubby is so good with his hands! I couldn't ask mine to build anything like that!!!
    Thanks for posting all those pics on FB. I love the view out of your window. All lush and green. I think you'll find it more comfy writing there than in your car or, heaven forbid, in the laundry!!

    What about Cozy Retreat or Bellevue Shed;
    Of all the above entries I like The Plotting Shed the most.

    Enjoy writing in your new bubble.

  32. Hi Natalie, after much thinking it suddenly came to me... and after re reading your post you've already mentioned it... The Love Shack! lol (cue B52's heheh)