The marvelous thing about the news is that if I’m lacking for a topic to talk about, some foolishness inevitably crosses my Twitter or Facebook feed that makes a good topic for this blog. This past week it has been the Twitter kerfuffle that erupted when an UK reporter called Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling “pretentious” for having a “writing room.” Since I’m not above taking advantage of the zeitgeist to fill a column, here are my thoughts for the technical writer working from home…ideally in a writing room of their own.
Work Spaces as a Practical Matter
Any profession–or professional–benefits from having a dedicated space to do their job. Said space would house the basics required for the job:
- Specialized tools/hardware/software.
- A place to sit (if warranted/wanted).
- An environment conducive to doing the work without exceptional distractions, hazards, or impediments to the work.
- Communication tools, as needed.
- Electronic and physical files or other relevant paperwork.
- Access to necessary coworkers for collaborative work.
Alternatives to a Dedicated “Writing Room”
If you can’t manage an office in a professional setting, there’s alway the possibility of a cubicle. Even individuals working in an “open office” workplace (you know–like reporters) usually have a designated desk where they can keep a few minimal supplies and plug in their computer.
Those of us who work from home quickly discover the need for a separate room to do work, if only to prevent domestic activities (cooking, child/pet care, entertainment) from interfering with doing our jobs. Sometimes, a separate room is not available or feasible. That will put them in the position of working at a Starbucks or someplace with access to wifi and caffeine. Or, if such a thing is in your neighborhood, you might be better off at a coworking place, which is dedicated to supporting work-from-home professionals who don’t want to or can’t do their work at home.
But for gosh sakes, yes, a “writing room” is a necessity. And you don’t need to be a world-renowned fantasy author to warrant one. Make yourself at home!