For the last few weeks I have been attending a writing space. A writing space is just what is says on the tin: a space where writers can write.
What exactly is a writing space?
It is a place outside your normal living and working environment where you go to write. A writing space can be a room in a hotel or other suitable building, a garden shed, a cotgage by the sea, a hotel room or an empty office. The writing space set up could be organised, adhoc, temporary, permanent or movable.
Writing spaces can be cheap (a rented space in a local community facility) or pricey (a writer’s retreat) depending on location and set up. Some places charge for room hire and some places do not. On a retreat the writing space is bundled in with other useful extras such as a reading group, writing group, writing workshop. tutorials, feedback sessions, eating and drinking. The kind of writing space a writer chooses probably depends on needs, time, money and location.
What is the purpose of a writing space?
A writing space is a place where writers write. In my experience a good writing space has nothing to distract writers from the task of writing beyond themselves. There are no interesting art installations, no in/external noises, no mobile phones ringing, no internet access and no one in the room who is not there to write. The purpose of the writing space is to provide that empty, calm space in which writing can take place. At the writing space I attend the writers often get on with writing or planning their writing. There is no conversation apart from at the beginning and the end. In between, everybody gets down to what they are there to do.
How useful are writing spaces?
Not all of us have access to a writing space at home so an organised writing space meets that need for someone quiet and calm. I find that going to a regular writing space means that I set aside time for my writing regardless of the other demands on my time. I also find that when I am in the writing space then I am able to concetrate on the writing and block other things out.
Many professional writers have writing spaces away from their main residence. Maya Angelou, Jeanette Winterson and Joanne Harris spring to mind as I write.
What do you need in a writing space?
A table or several tables, a chair for each participant and adequate lighting. The writing space I attend has a large table we all sit around, chairs, notepaper, pens and lots of light. Everyone brings their own laptop or notebook. We site and the table and write. The hotel bar provides drinks and snacks for before and after sessions.
How to set up a writing space
I think the first thing to do is to find a suitable venue and then advertise it. I found my writing space through www.meetups.com. You could also advertise in your local library or college.