Writers, Head To The Office!

Where do you write? In your own office? A shared space?

3 Reasons Why Where You Write Matters

One of my friends reached his crowdfunding goal to make his movie. The first portion of the money was meant to be used for writing his screenplay. “It’s interesting,” he said, “this is so much more enjoyable, and I’m really motivated, because I feel like I’m on the clock.”

He didn’t want to let his fans down. His writing felt like a job and his customers were waiting for the script they had paid for.

These are 3 great reasons why where you write matters.

  1. You feel obligated to your customers
  2. Writing feels like a job (you want to do)
  3. You feel professional, because you link the completion of work with payment

One of the ways writing can feel like your job is to link your writing to a specific work space. I love this visual prompt of ‘heading to the office’ with its vibe of productivity, urgency and purpose.

Writing Space To Motivate You

Motivation for writers is often a challenge; and the environment, lighting, noise, surroundings, company, even that nebulous feng shui of a space – can all contribute to our productivity or detract from our progress. Like many people, I’ve used many different spaces to work in including coffee shops, libraries, co-working spaces, traditional offices, and other places I thought writers might be, including museums, pop up shops (the most recent playing Bach from 12:30-5 which was great) and sometimes, churches.

Certain aspects of the space were great, but I longed for something more official, serene and quiet. I crave quiet to work and even though I use a variety of white noise landscapes (https://mynoise.net is far and away the best). While visiting AFM this year in Santa Monica, a friend hipped me to the existence of a writer space. That’s it. For writers. Only writers, not tech people on their phones, or group meetings, or seminars. The space is only for WRITERS!

Super excited, I went to check it out and take it for a test drive while in town, and just fell in love. So it’s called theOffice and I officially think they need to expand everywhere – I loved it! The best thing is it is quiet, neat, clean as a pin, with STANDING DESKS – my absolute favorite. These save my back since I cannot sit for 8-10 hours. There is a kitchen and back porch-type area, and lockers. It is fabulous and I fell in love. Many people in the LA area are familiar with theOffice from it’s previous home in Brentwood, and it has a history of some famous and prolific writers working there, from Victoria Strouse (Finding Dory) Joss Whedon (The Avengers), Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner, Jackie) and many others. People don’t come for the networking, rather, for 24-hour access and writing time fueled with the serenity, quiet, and energy from other writers.

When I got back to New York City, I wished we had theOffice here (love the standing desk) which led me to looking for writing spaces. Of course there are some! In Manhattan, there’s the Writers Room down on Broadway, which is bright, lovely with partitioned spaces for privacy and has a great vibe and at the Mercantile Library, there is The Center for Fiction on NYC’s east side, as well as Paragraph with spaces in Union Square and Brooklyn, featuring writer’s events and reciprocal partnerships with both writing spaces in Chicago as well as Toronto Writers’ Centre. Once you’re staff on a show, of course you may have a writer’s room experience, but until you get there (and between gigs) it’s important to fuel your progress in every way you can. A friend of mine who worked on a Netflix show was working with two other writers who were in different countries. They didn’t write ‘together’ at all, everything was remote. He really wanted the shared writing room experience, so he made a point of coming to the set every day to write and setting up shop in an area where he had quiet, wasn’t in the way, but felt the excitement of the production.

Why join a writing space?

I think it’s a no-brainer why to join a writing space; for the focus, energy and dedication of other writers, as well as the camaraderie. Writing can be a long and lonely road, particularly at 4AM, but if others are writing, and you think or your space as your office, perhaps you’ll writer better and more effectively. In addition to dedicated writing spaces, of course you may prefer joining a co-working space, or something else for the single purpose of writing.

quiet room with many writers working

So, here are some ways to go about calculating whether or not you want to take the plunge and join a space just for your writing.

Considerations When You Chose A Writing Space

There are many factors, to consider when choosing a writing space and they break down to:

  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • How Much You Will Use It
  • Productivity

If you do a trial period (just to date a space for a while), make sure to set a specific goal. That goal should contain time-bound parameters and a word-count per writing session as well as an overall completion goal (treatment, first draft, etc.). Then set a schedule for it, track the goal, and at the end of that period, assess your progress. If you meet your goal, feel like the environment of the writing space works for you, then it could be a good fit. There’s something to be said for going to the office!

Rock your writing – wherever it works for you!
@paulalandry 

(All images appear with permission from theOffice.com)

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