Writers need to write.
It’s a pretty simple formula.
But finding the right place to work—a space that offers appropriate buzz, connections, light, chairs, desks, volume, and lack of distractions and interruptions—can be challenging.
As every coworking space in the world is different, chances are good that, as a writer in need of a place to write, you can find one that works for you.
Writing (and Coworking) with the Wolves
Dorothy Hearst is the author of the Wolf Chronicles trilogy and is currently working on At the Heels of History, a series she’s creating with Pam Berkman. Slated for release on August 27th of this year, the series is historical fiction for readers from 6 to 10 years old, from the point of view of the dogs who were there.
A year and a half ago, Hearst and Berkman needed a place to meet and work on the series. After visiting several coworking spaces, including WeWork, Hearst found NextSpace Coworking Berkeley, became a member, and has been happily writing from the downtown Berkeley coworking space ever since.
“It was a good place to meet,” says Hearst. “We did most of the forging of the first book and the idea for the series at NextSpace Berkeley.” She adds, “It has really good energy, we love the natural light, it was convenient for both of us, and there are really friendly people. It’s the right level of busyness but not too noisy.”
Dorothy Hearst, accomplished author and happy coworker. Photograph (c) Jerry Bauer.
Tips for Writers in a Coworking Space
Hearst shared 13 tips for writers working out of coworking spaces, as well as writers considering coworking as a way to boost productivity, spark inspiration and connection, and get out of the house.
- Know your needs. Coworking is definitely not for people who need library silence. A lot of writers need that, so I would not recommend coworking for those people.
- Find the place with the right amount of ambient noise.
- Bring headphones for the times the noise can be too much.
- Find a space with the right vibe for you.
- Find a space with interesting people.
- Find a space with a diverse community. NextSpace Berkeley isn’t all 28-year old tech people. It’s a broad group of people.
- Know what kind of writer you are. If you need to be by yourself, coworking may not be right for you. Private office space within a shared workspace may also be an option depending on how much privacy you need.
8. Have really clear goals about what you want to accomplish.
9. Put headphones on if you need to focus and not be interrupted—even if you’re not listening to anything.
10. Set discrete chunks of time to do writing, and time to wander around and talk with people.
11. Connect with other writers in the space.
12. Talk shop with non-writers. It’s interesting hearing what other people are doing, and there are often interesting synergies.
13. Find a place that works for you, and is a personality match for you.
Pacific Workplaces has 17 shared workspaces across California—including coworking in Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento. Find a location near you.
by Cat Johnson, a content strategist, storyteller and coworker at NextSpace Santa Cruz