Thursday, February 2, 2012

Co-Working: the writer's new "home away from home" (and a special offer!)

Have you ever dreamed of setting up a home office, perfect in every detail, where you could write uninterrupted for hours on end--but when the day came, found yourself drowning in loneliness and isolation, constantly checking the refrigerator and the mailbox, the ticking clock your only companion? Goodbye, productivity!

Or have you ever sat in your home office, writing furiously against a looming deadline, surfing the wave of creative flow, when suddenly your child knocks on the door, needing a ride to sports practice, or your spouse wants to know where you've hidden the scissors? Adios, concentration!

Or say you've finally landed a coveted writing assignment for a glossy magazine. Lacking an office, you arrange to conduct an important interview at a local coffee shop, which works out fairly well, despite having to strain to hear your soft-spoken companion over the blaring music--until the woman at the next table decides to change her baby's dirty diaper, right there, right then. (True story.) So long, professionalism!

For many writers, writing at home isn't always practical, and public spaces--the library, the coffee shop--present problems of their own, like a lack of privacy and the perils of unsecured WiFi. Yet renting a traditional office is prohibitively expensive. If you're a writer in this situation, co-working might be the answer.

Are you familiar with co-working? I wasn't, until I spoke with Anita Aurit, cofounder (with Mitzi Vesecky) of The Office Sandpoint, a suite of offices in Sandpoint, Idaho, that rents space to individuals by the day, hour, or week. "Co-working is huge on both coasts," Anita explains, "but it's a new concept here in North Idaho."

In a co-working situation, individuals can rent comfortable, professional office space for whatever time period suits their needs--one or two days a week, or one week a month, or an afternoon now and then, etc. Depending on the facility, an array of support services are offered. For example, The Office Sandpoint offers conference rooms, secured WiFi, printing, copying, and a kitchenette. Ride your bike to work? They've even got a shower! And there's the comforting presence of fellow warm-blooded bipeds and chitchat around the proverbial water cooler--no small thing for a solo worker emerging from a self-imposed cocoon.

People who choose to co-work run the gamut from freelancers to telecommuters to traveling sales reps--just about anyone who needs access to an office for just a day here and a day there, not 24/7, year in and year out.

So how does co-working apply to writers? Maybe you normally write at home in the bosom of your family, but once a week you prefer to get out of the house and write in a quiet, interruption-free office. Or every so often you emerge from your monk-like existence and write in an office to experience the energy (and potential creative collaboration) of having other people around. Or a deadline is pressing and you absolutely, positively need to finish a project, or else--so you rent an office for two or three days until it's done. Or instead of conducting interviews in a public place, you arrange for a few hours in a private conference room. There are plenty of ways for writers to take advantage of a co-working arrangement. Rates are reasonable, and best of all, unlike a traditional office, when you don't need the space, you aren't paying for it.

"Writing can be a lonely profession," acknowledges Anita, who is a writer herself. "The writer's nemesis is interruptions. Sit down, plug in earplugs, and make time to write. Give yourself the gift of time to work on your craft."

To help writers do just that, Anita is extending a generous offer to Writing North Idaho readers, through the end of February 2012: one FREE day to do your writing at The Office Sandpoint, so you can try it out for yourself. If you're within driving distance of Sandpoint, Idaho, it's an offer that can't be beat! Contact Anita at 208-953-1419 or

If Sandpoint's out of range, check around for co-working spaces in your area; they're becoming common in larger cities, and catching on elsewhere, too.

Where do you do your best writing?


Jennifer Rova said...

I had never heard of co-working space until your post. Clever idea. It is an expensive start up business but the idea meets a need which is the #1 mantra for a successful business.

Where do I do my best writing? Late at night, with either a soft drink or hot cocoa depending upon the season, at my lap top, on my desk, in our computer-dedicated room without a deadline looming. Writing is then a pleasure.

Good posts this week, as usual. Thanks!

Mary Jane Honegger said...

What a great concept. Tell Anita "thanks" for the offer and I hope some of you writers closer to Sandpoint take advantage of her offer! I might even think about driving the 50 miles just to experience a interruption-free day.