Coffee break exercise special edition: A Room of One's Own


03 July 2020
This group creative writing exercise comes from The Women Writer's Handbook - see how much you can do on your own, or why not get together with writer friends on Zoom?

Aim: To look at the ways we use our space and to explore a writer’s need for mental space.


1. Brainstorm the word “Space” for association and write these on a large sheet in the centre of the room.

2. In pairs, describe your current room vividly – the colours, the smells, the sounds etc. Swap round.

3. Make a list of home improvements you’d like to make given an unlimited budget and share this list with your partner.

4. Think of a communal room in your present or past home and draw a picture from above of the way it is laid out.

5. Colour-code items and spaces in the room which are:

1. a)  exclusively yours

2. b)  shared ownership

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3. c)  never used by you

6. Discuss how much of the room is yours? Which parts are shared? Which parts are essential to you? Which parts are subject to conflict?

7. Imagine this conflict on a grander scale. Imagine a character who demands the right to a certain object or space. Write a story/poem/scene/monologue about this conflict.

8. Share and discuss. What space do you create for your writing?

9. Look back at the original associations for the word “Space”. What other words might we add now?

This group creative writing exercise is from revised edition of The Women Writers' Handbook, published by Aurora Metro to celebrate their 30th anniversary as an independent publisher. 20% of the proceeds from the sale of the book are going to Aurora Metro's campaign to commission, fund and erect a statue of Virginia Woolf in Richmond-on-Thames.


Read the interview with acclaimed author Kit de Waal from The Women Writers' Handbook here