Where You Should—and Shouldn’t—Go To Write
I am a lucky freelancer—I have my own home office and no kids (well, at least not yet) to worry about. And my job means I don’t have to sit in my office, day after day, until I can’t stand it anymore. I get to go out and meet interesting people to interview and take photos. However, not everyone can work this way.
Some of you don’t have a home office, or any office, to work in. You have to work wherever you can, be it the couch, the kitchen table, or in the basement. Finding a quiet space can be difficult if you have a family. And not having anyone to bounce ideas off of can be maddening, too.
That’s why I liked this article posted on Men With Pens about the best—and worst—places to write.
If you have to get out of the house due to cabin fever, loud teenagers, or you just need a new environment to spark creativity, there are places where you should and should not go.
Where NOT to Write
We’ve written about coffee shops before on FreelanceSwich. In December, April Borbon wrote a post about why working at the library is better than at a coffee shop. Here are some of her reasons why coffee shops are the pits:
- Wi-Fi isn’t always free
- There’s pressure to order something
- Too many interruptions
- It’s too easy to be social at a coffee shop
There are so many distractions at a coffee shop, that it may be hard for you to get any actual writing done.
What, exactly, about a coffee shop screams productive environment? People are moving in and out constantly. There are usually many others occupying seats and tables. During busy times, you might not even be able to find a seat. —MenWithPens
Seek out a coffee shop when you need a break from work, instead of a place to try to actually get anything done. See heading to a coffee shop for a tasty beverage as a treat for getting stuff done. It’s a great place to meet friends, or make new ones, and focus on something un-work related, like listening to a new audio book or sketching in your journal.
Other Peoples’ Homes
Unless your friends, significant other, or family members work from home, they don’t get what you do. Sure, they may be able to provide you with a quiet place to get some work done, but they may also ask you for favors—like switching over the laundry from the washer to the dryer, cutting up vegetables for dinner, or picking up their kid from piano practice.
And you don’t want to feel obligated to do these small chores for these well-meaning people, because they are, after all, sheltering you for a certain amount of time. But it’s counterproductive to your workday. Better to find a neutral zone where no one can call you with a quick little request that can throw you out of your zone.
As springtime temperatures have you itching to be outside, it might seem tempting to find a place that has Wi-Fi and hunker down. Good luck.
If you thought coffee shops were distracting, parks are doubly, maybe triply so. You know how people in offices lament their daytime imprisonment when it’s nice outside? That’s probably healthy. They’re at work for a reason, after all. —MenWithPens
And good luck getting comfortable working on the grass. Unless you are a yogi with great vision, finding a comfortable sitting position where you can actually see your computer screen is incredibly difficult.
Where TO Write
Sigh…the library. One of my favorite places in the entire world. Not only is it gloriously quiet, there are librarians there that can help you find out any sort of information you could possibly need.
It’s also free—and unless you are in a designated area, you probably can’t drink or eat anything. And if you’re looking for a distraction-free zone, the library is your best bet. Sit yourself into a work cubby or find a comfy chair and turn it to face a stack of books. Nothing to see here!
Colleges and Universities
A university, especially during the summer when the students aren’t around, is a great place to write. Oftentimes, the union is open during the summer to serve food and beverages to staff members, and there aren’t a lot of people around to bother you. It’s pretty easy during summer break to find yourself a corner and tuck yourself into it for a few hours of uninterrupted work time.
If you really need to get away and get work done, and you have the money to spend, try a hotel room. But don’t get one that’s too swanky. You don’t want to be tempted with a Jacuzzi-style tub or HBO.
A hotel room can be a considerable cost, but if you’ve exhausted other means, it might be worth it. You can close the shades, lock the door, and get right down to work knowing no one will bother you.
Do you have any other ideas of great places to write? We’d love to hear them!