Virginia Woolf wrote in her novel "A room of one´s own":
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
I think this can translate into any other passion or creative work you are doing. In order to create, you need time. In order to create, you need space. You need a space where you can feel safe. You need a space where time can flow, without too much hurry. You need a room.
Before I started to work with photography the way I am today (spending almost every hour of the day thinking about new concepts, photographing, editing and trying to market myself by reaching out to people, showing them my work) I didn´t have the calm around me to spend as much time on my artistry as I wanted. I had too much around me to be able to focus on my own work. When I created pictures back then, I did it when I had some spare time left, often in the middle of the night, but I wouldn´t choose to work with my images instead of meeting friends or doing something else. If I felt that I´d rather stay home and be creative than meet a friend, I had a hard time telling her that, because it felt wrong to choose my own company before the company of a friend, especially when that friend expressed an interest in meeting me.
As a child, I had no problem with this. I loved to run home after school, close the door to my room and sit for hours alone. If someone wanted to play with me after school, I simply said that I wanted to go home. So, what did I do at home, alone? I wrote novels, poems and songs for the piano. I made drawings, little movies, photographs. I read about space and stars and dinosaurs. I dreamt of adventure, freedom, of being a bird that could fly away into the sky and be forever free.
In 2011, when I started to feel an urge to create more, I realized that I needed to give myself permission to do what I really wanted to do, and that I was the only one who could make that decision. What I wanted to do was to create conceptual photographs. I decided that I needed to give myself time and space in order to do this. This also meant that I needed to make priorities by saying no to social activities and too much work. I started to work less, and naturally I didn´t need to spend as much money on activities or other stuff, because most of my time was spent in front of my computer, alone at home.
I wanted to write about the importance of having your own space, because this is something that constantly is on my mind. For example, my series Finding Peace is based upon this concept. I believe that you have to choose to be creative. If you don´t make a choice that you are going to spend the whole day alone (or just an hour) to create your art, it´s not going to happen. You have to give yourself permission to do what you love. You are the only one who knows what is truly important in your life. Your inner self will tell you where your passion lies if you dare to listen.
Many are afraid of doing what they love. Sometimes we can feel that a passion or an interest in being creative is so important that we don´t dare to do what we want to do because of fear of doing it badly, or fear of what other people might say. We all want to protect ourselves. We don´t want to loose what is important to us. But I believe that one way to protect yourself is to make room for your true self. If you make room for yourself, you will find the peace to be creative. If you sit down in calmness, the universe will open itself up to you. This can mean that you have to sacrifice other stuff. Maybe you can´t see your friends as much as your used to, or you have to cut down on something else. In order to make room for yourself, you have to give other things less space.
To me, being able to close the door, knowing that I am all by myself, is when I feel the most creative and alive.
"There is a room where no one can hurt us. There is a room where no one can get us... Let´s go there now."
Miss Li, "The Room"