One of the thing freelancers love most about their jobs is the flexibility. You can work from just about anywhere on whatever schedule suits you best. Sounds good, right? Usually it is, but for some freelance writers, this degree of flexibility can be a drain on productivity and lead to a frustrating degree of isolation. Luckily, with the advent of coworking spaces, it no longer has to be that way.
Originally found almost exclusively in large cities – though now they’ve begun to pop up in many suburbs – coworking spaces have become a popular alternative to both traditional offices and to working from home or out of coffee shops. Both small businesses and freelancers use coworking spaces, and many find the spaces offer invaluable networking opportunities, among other benefits.
A Sense Of Routine
Many people thrive on having a routine, but when you’re a freelance writer, routine can be hard to come by. Assignments vary, how much work you have varies, and the only thing that stays the same seems to be the screen you stare at day in and day out. That’s not much routine to speak of and the lack of regimentation can eat into your productivity, and that’s what makes coworking spaces so useful.
While there may not be anyone keeping you accountable in a conventional sense, having somewhere outside the home to work allows you to establish a routine – to go to work at a certain time and, most importantly, work in a particular place so that your brain knows that when you arrive, it’s time to focus.
Access What You Need
Another benefit that workers cite when they talk about using coworking spaces is the ability to centralize what they need. Just think about how you work right now; if you need coffee, you can go to the kitchen and make it, or maybe you’ll wander down to the local coffee shop. If you need to mail something, you need to go out to the post office. Essentially, there’s a constant cascade of small activities that can distract you from your writing.
One of the major advantages to working out of a coworking space is that everything you need is already on site. You have access to the internet plus printers, a desk, and your computer, but most coworking sites offer much more than that. At Novel Coworking’s Madison, WI branch, you’ve also got an espresso bar and local beer on tap, mail service, and access to event space. You can find similar amenities at other coworking sites.
Learn The Ropes Of Networking
Like working in a typical office, coworking spaces provide freelance writers with an opportunity to engage with others, network, and build valuable connections. Many businesses working out of coworking sites even end up trading services or working together on projects. But while these shared spaces are great for networking, they also demand that you take ownership over your time.
At home, it’s obvious when you’re procrastinating by checking your email or doing laundry, but in coworking spaces, it’s easy to write idle chatter off as “networking.” To really benefit from these spaces, you need to be clear about your goals and set limits on how much you chat. If you’re caught in a conversation with no end in sight, you need to know how to excuse yourself and get back to work. Social breaks can make you more productive, but only if they’re limited.
Breaking the isolation of freelance writing is an important part of making it a sustainable career; for some, lack of interaction is a core cause of burnout. By providing routine, accountability, and community, however, many freelance writers find that they become more efficient, experience greater job satisfaction, and even increase their earning power.
Freelancers and coworking spaces – it’s a winning combination.