The Write Space
April 30, 2019 7:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd love some ideas of places I could go to write. I'm unable to write at home due to a lot of distractions and negative feelings I have being at home. So, I need to find a place I could go to write, with a few restrictions.

I've tried the typical Starbucks/coffee shop and library suggestions, but I feel like I need something more homey, comfortable, and "mine". What I essentially need is another home/apartment, space all my own where I can get up and go to the bathroom without packing my stuff up to do so. A place where I can wear my pj's or get up and grab a drink from the fridge, etc.

Financially, I am unable to afford a second home/apartment. Current home HOA would not allow a she-shed, which would be almost perfect. Another caveat: I don't want to be in a place where I feel like an outsider or a burden/intruder (I don't know what this really means, but it's this feeling I have). I'd like to be alone in my space (having others be around is fine, but I want my space to be my space without fear of being interrupted personally for the time I'm there).

What options do I have? I don't really have much money to throw at this, but maybe $25-$50 a week.
posted by Sassyfras to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe a private room in an AirBnB once a week? Depending on where you are, you might be able to find something in that price range.
posted by ananci at 7:28 PM on April 30, 2019

Do you like pets? I work from home, and have considered posting on Nextdoor that I would hang out with someone's pet in exchange for using their home as a separate office. It might be especially useful for dogs who get anxious alone (and also useful if you're willing to give them a midday walk). I think it could be a good exchange.
posted by pinochiette at 7:35 PM on April 30, 2019 [9 favorites]

- do you want it to be available whenever you want or a set schedule
- how many hours a week are you hoping for?
- are you flexible about which hours? Are you Ok with setting the schedule fairly last minute or do you want it to be more predictable.

If it were me, I would put the word out among my communities that I was looking a spare room in someone's home office that I could use and that I would be willing pay. Someone whose kid is off to college or otherwise out of the house might find that attractive. Or maybe someone on a limited budget who is gone during the day that might be willing to let you use their place. The trick is that they would have feel they could trust so it would need to be a friend or a friend of a friend.
posted by metahawk at 7:36 PM on April 30, 2019

Maybe become a house sitter/animal sitter - the type where they just want someone there a few hours a day to keep a cat company or a house look like someone is occasionally around?
posted by maxg94 at 7:36 PM on April 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Do you have a car? I'm working on setting up a writing situation from my car that I could run from state/national park land on day use or weekend rates. For a beginning setup, you just need a big rechargeable battery and a bit of a table/seat situation, but then that would suck if you're not somewhere with a pretty benign climate.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:05 PM on April 30, 2019

Came here to also suggest the idea of pet and/or house sitting. Assuming you can find the right situation, not only would you be in under budget, you might even make a few bucks. When I was traveling more for work, I'd have loved to have a pet sitter who'd spend more than an obligatory 30 minutes with my cats just to make sure they're fed & watered with a bare minimum of human attention.
posted by jzb at 8:13 PM on April 30, 2019

Do you have a friend or acquaintance that will let you borrow their space for a while? Here's a story:

I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment. My best friend, who's in the early stages of a musical theatre career, has a copy of my keys (mainly for emergency purposes). He also has a housemate who he doesn't really feel safe around for various reasons, which gets in the way of him doing as much rehearsal as he wants for auditions, classes, and shows (mainly small cabarets, not entire theatre runs, hence the need to practice privately). I don't think he's in a position to afford renting private practice space at the moment.

One time he was stuck trying to mime his way through a practice before class because of aforementioned housemate. I was in the library doing my own work, so I told him to just use my keys and use my apartment while I'm out. After a bit of convincing that I was actually totally OK with this (he also was worried it'd be a burden) he did so, and he managed to get more useful practice done as he had the space to do so without worrying that someone would judge him. (And he got a lot of positive feedback in class!)

He's since done the same thing a few more times, usually while I'm already out doing my own thing, though he's now more OK with me being in the apartment while he practices (I just stay in my room and chill and let him be). I let him have free range of my kitchen and bathroom though he tends to bring his own food.

You don't have to ask for someone's keys, but you may be able to strike up an arrangement with someone where you could borrow their space while they're out - they let you in, they leave, you do your thing, they come back, you go home. Hell if you were in Melbourne I'd make the same offer to you.

I would also suggest co-working spaces, though I don't know how home-y they would be and private spaces can get a bit expensive.
posted by divabat at 8:48 PM on April 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

In true creepy algorithmic fashion, I am now seeing ads for Codiwork, which is literally AirBnB for coworking spaces (in people's homes) Seems well within your budget, $70 a month for 25 hours. Seems kinda new, tho, not sure if it's in your area yet?
posted by ananci at 10:35 PM on April 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is there any sort of allotment or community garden scheme nearby? Sometimes the plots will allow for basic sheds. Something with a desk, a filing cabinet and a camping stove might not be too outrageous, although obviously you'd need to clear it with whoever's in charge.
posted by rollick at 2:14 AM on May 1, 2019

If a friend needed a non-home place to work while I was at work, I would in no way consider it a burden to let them use my house, as long as they were not put out if I had to stay home sick one day. If they, were willing to, say, turn the laundry over and bring in the mail, so much better.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:24 AM on May 1, 2019

Another data point of someone (me) who has a friend whose apartment I am allowed to use as a hideout when I want to/need to be away from my own space for a bit. Right now, my partner is holding rehearsals and recording sessions for a podcast where having me in the house would be noisy for recording, or I'd just be distracted by all the folks in the house, so sometimes I'll just go over and hang out in her empty space. If you have a friend who seems like they'd be willing to let you do that, I'd strike up the conversation and see how you can make it work.
posted by xingcat at 6:40 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also have a friend who's very chill about me going over to hang at her house sometimes if I have a work from home day when she's at work, but can't actually get shit done in my own house for [reasons]. Her cats get some extra love and I text her cute pictures of them, I get a quiet and chill place to work, everyone wins.

Another potential thought if you're looking for places outside the hours your friends might be out of their homes - do you have anyone else who writes or does quiet hobbies, who might be willing to host a "work on our stuff quietly together" hangout? There have been times when I would have been really into having a friend come over so we could work on our writing projects in adjoining rooms and maybe sometimes take snack breaks together. Useful for accountability and keeping yourselves motivated!
posted by Stacey at 6:59 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Some cities have art councils that have studio space you can apply for. Ottawa has this and my sister has several times acquired space this way. Another time she rented space in a local church, where she had a small room and access to a bathroom. Brought a kettle and some tea, etc. She was broke, but it was cheap.
posted by Enid Lareg at 7:37 AM on May 1, 2019

Depending on where you live, a friend or neighbor may have an RV or fifth wheel sitting around that is used only for vacations (rather than an RV that is used as a primary living space). Perhaps you could arrange a deal to 'rent' the RV for a few hours a day - they probably won't want you to move it or to use the plumbing if it's not on a full hookup, but a lot of folks around me run an extension cable out from their house so they can turn on a fan and power a laptop at least. It's an enclosed space that is not inside someone's house so it's a little less 'I'm invading your private area'.
posted by DSime at 10:16 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I regularly dog sit for some of my friends, and this might be your ideal setup if the dogs don't bother you.
posted by RedEmma at 1:57 PM on May 1, 2019

It wouldn't be in any way "yours", but if you wanted somewhere you could write without being interrupted and not feel like a outsider/burden/intruder, most hospitals have a lot of small sitting areas. It's easy to find empty ones, you can stay as long as you want, and people are very unlikely to disturb you. You could probably wear PJs; people walk around hospitals in a lot less. And there are always vending machines and cafes.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:11 PM on May 1, 2019

still_wears_a_hat's suggestion reminds me that I once had a really productive work session waiting at the airport (to surprise aforementioned best friend - I wasn't flying anywhere). Free wifi, they don't really care so much about what you wear, they didn't ask me anything when I was there with my laptop and no clear destination (and I'm a very obviously brown person so I do stick out). My main cost was the $32 return bus ticket and a small dinner.

This really depends on your local airport, but it might be an option if the costs and facilities work out.
posted by divabat at 2:00 AM on May 2, 2019

Thanks for the great ideas! I’m feeling more hopeful about this and have a few friends I’m going to approach about using their empty homes/spaces. I wanted to steer clear of public spaces due to not being able to move around as freely. - going to the bathroom or grabbing some food would require me to pack up all my stuff and then hope that my space wasn’t taken when I returned from the bathroom.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:03 AM on May 2, 2019

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