Monday, September 16, 2013

STL Writer's Room

Hey all! In response to last week's conversation about writing spaces, Austin Skinner, owner of the STL Writer's room, has a few paragraphs to contribute:

True. Writers can write anywhere. And they can put up with just about anything if a deadline calls for it. But really, the mark of a good space is productivity. And people require different things to find it; some need a window, some need a wall.  
But if you haven’t found your answer to Andrew’s question—if your space leaves you wanting—I’d like to suggest the STL Writers’ Room. It’s all the good things about leaving your house without any of the interruptions—music or otherwise. In fact, it’s even more than that. It’s a workspace wholly designed for writers. Imagine a quiet, inspiring building with plenty of outlets and 12-foot windows facing the St. Louis skyline. Now imagine working there alongside other writers busy in their own drafts. And let’s throw in a microbrew across the street for good measure. Do you think you could get more done in two hours there than in six hours at home? Can your space do that?
The STL Writers’ Room is a membership organization open 24/7 to writers of all stripes. With individual workstations and a collaborative space for group projects / peer review / workshops, the Writers’ Room offers a perfect balance of community and solitude.
Memberships options vary, but a full-time membership works out to $3.74 per day, which is probably less than that premium latte you’re buying at the café just to keep the eyes off you. Oh, and coffee’s free at the Writers’ Room.
Overstuffed couches and bookcases add to the atmosphere. It’s a great place to spend a few hours—or the entire day—getting the most out of your time spent writing. Interested in writing with us? Check it out at
—Austin Skinner
The beautiful STL Writers' Room

Monday, September 9, 2013

Writing Uprooted?

Where do writers write? Writers can write anywhere, of course. Some even write in the shower. Enough people, in fact, to justify the existence of waterproof notepads. Although I'm not sure there's a developing job market for underwater stenographers (yet), at least one person has (presumably) taken meeting minutes underwater. Maybe "underwater" will someday start popping up on survey results in response to "Where is your favorite place to write?"

For now, however (darnit), the popular answers are typically at the café, in the park, or at home. Joe Pawlikowski recommends that the best places to write are hotels and libraries and advises writers to avoid coffee shops, the park, and friends' houses (I had honestly never considered the last option, perhaps because I subconsciously pre-anticipated the looks on their faces upon being presented with the idea).

Writing has always been a remote work job, and now writers who write among us have to compete for their favorite writing spaces with all of the other people freshly liberated from the proximal boundaries of their traditional workspaces by the increasing mobility of technology. For some, this is irrelevant. The additional people, chatter, and busyness all fade into background noise while the words flow. For others (like me), there's an extra difficulty of concentrating that can utterly crush productivity.

"Alright, everyone, now that we've assembled our temporary meeting room, let's begin," he wrote on his whiteboard, immediately followed by "I need to go up for air." And then he was swallowed by a shark.

So when you can't focus at home anymore, where do you go in 2013, when there are people everywhere all the time? When there's nowhere to sit in the library that isn't aurally infringed upon by either painfully loud headphones or a pity-inducing snorer? When every barista in town has decided it's Full-Volume Metallica Monday?

Head out to a practically-secret park in a small, country town? Convert the passenger seat into a desk and take it to an abandoned drive-in theater? Prop your notepad on a dumpster in the alley?

Writers? Where do you write?