Do Freelancers Need a Writing Room?

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!


About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
This entry was posted in freelancing, personal, technical writing, Technology, workplace. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do Freelancers Need a Writing Room?

  1. I’ve never heard of a solopreneur functioning without an office. And guess what? Writers are solopreneurs.

  2. Hi, as a technical communication MA student / freelance translator, I completely agree that a dedicated working space is required. When I made the move to freelance, so many friends and colleagues thought that it meant I could work “from wherever” – Starbucks, or even on the beach (!) – and that I could stop working whenever I felt like it, go on holidays whenever I wanted… What I found is that, freelancer or employee, a stable work environment and schedule make me more productive.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.