A Vision for a Writer’s Salon

I hear these advertisements on the radio for shared office space solutions. The ads are targeted to home-based businesses, mobile sales people, and freelancers who need a professional meeting room, someone to answer a phone, or the occasional place to work, free of distraction. These shared office spaces are utilitarian in nature, but they save the clients money compared to the cost and length of contract of having their own office.

There are days, writing at home, when I wish there was a low-cost option like this available for writers and other creatives. The modern library is not a quiet place to work. Going to a bookstore or coffee shop is an okay solution, sometimes, but there are other times when what I really need is a separate, quiet space where writing is the only possible outlet.

I envision a simple, but professional space, with multiple cubby-hole offices where writers can go to work. There would be a public space, too, for book clubs or writing workshops or public readings. It would be comfortable, but not fancy. We could have bookshelves where the writers could donate books and literary journals. Some of the books would be part of the permanent collection, others could make up a self-policed lending library. There could even be regularly scheduled social events to allow writers to meet and talk and encourage each other in their work.

It seems to me there should be enough of a writer’s community here in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas to support such an endeavor. I would love to be a part of something like this.

Is there anything like this where you live? If so, please share. I’d love to learn more about how to make a writer’s salon a reality.

 

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18 thoughts on “A Vision for a Writer’s Salon

  1. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for articulating an idea you and I have talked about a lot during our MFA program. Your blog post crossed my line of vision just as I was researching similar options here in Columbus. My objectives include space for creativity coaching/workshops and writing classes – there are some art galleries advertising rental space for fledgling artists, and I was thinking that could be a plan because of the public traffic during first-of-the-month art walks and other exhibitions and events. I’m also liaising with another writer who’s husband owns a winery in downtown Columbus and they’re already hosting artists to meet and utilize the space for creative expression and networking. My advice is: find the space, then launch the business – you’ll be good at it.

    Belinda.

    • Thanks, Belinda. I think the possibilities for this sort of thing are endless. It’s an exciting prospect, I think. I’m glad to hear about what you are doing. Keep me updated on how things work out!!

  2. I’ve not seen/heard of anything like that, but I liked your comment about libraries not being quiet places to work anymore. I know kids will all occasionally get a bit too loud, but I swear I’m the only mom shushing her kids when I go.

    So, is it kids where you’re at, or have they become multi-purpose community areas? Something else?

    • In talking with library people, the institutional attitude has changed. In pubic libraries, it isn’t so much about reading/checking out/studying books, anymore. It is about providing internet access to those who can’t afford their own, serving the community in that way while also holding “events and activities” to draw people in and offer non-book items (CDs, DVDs, eReaders, magazines, etc) to increase circulation numbers and justify costs. There is no expectation of being quiet in most public libraries.

      • I remember going to a magic show in the public library when I was really little, so it can’t be all new, but it does seem that there’s an increased focus on “events.”

        Our library system (there’s a whole bunch of them because it’s county-wide, and I’m in a BIG county) has at least a few libraries with quiet study rooms. Most have some sort of conference room and/or a tutoring room. Computers do take up entirely too much space (what happened to study carols or whatever they’re called???). Still, ours are decent about keeping it relatively quiet – at least I can actually hear what the librarian is saying if I ask for help now 🙂

        That said, I gave up on studying in the library when I was an undergrad. The “quiet study room” was so quiet, people would glare at you for daring to unzip your bag. The rest was too boisterous. I’m just difficult I guess!

      • Our downtown, main branch has a “silent study room” with old, dented, abused study carols and the steady hum of florescent lights. Oh, and really uncomfortable chairs. The branch libraries don’t have quiet rooms, at least not where I go. Plus, the hours of operation…ugh. Not a good long-term, daily option for me, as far as a writing space goes.

      • I can see that. With the economy rotting, our libraries are open weird hours. “Regional” ones are opposite “local” ones (no clue what the difference is). They’re like 10-6 or 1-9, depending on the day. I can’t keep it straight.

        Your comment about the fluorescent lights reminded me of something I’m going to have to blog about, by the way.

  3. I cant see why these spaces all occur for office workers that there cannot be a space for creatives as well!

    I’ve actually pitched in Australia for groups of film makers and film workers which has been taken really well. We have an office space in South Sydney where producers, directors and writers all share an office space with agent workers sharing the space so the work communication is centralised. Although they are not working on the same project at the same time, these three different groups fuel each other.

    I think for writers, editors and agents in a single space could create a great balance for those in literature in any city as well.

  4. I’ve seen some galleries for working artists (in Savage, MD, and Goggleworks of Reading, PA) but not for writers per se. This notion of a space where writers can congregate sounds terrific.

    • Hey, Dan. Yeah…this sort of thing for working artists pops up from time to time, and, I’m betting there is some literary equivalent in some big city or another. I have a vision for it in my head, I just need a patron to make it work, right? Which gives me a blog idea…

      • A patron? A collective? A few trial runs?
        It’s more than a gathering to talk about writing, right? You’re seeing a space/time for writers to bend over notebook/keyboard and actually crank out sentences?
        Underused church buildings come to mind; also had a conversation with a distant cousin who shares space in a community center: she teaches watercolors one day, a bunch of quilters come in another, and so on.
        Would be interesting to chase this idea for a bit with a blog and see what emerges…

      • Actually, yes, a patron is one idea. Something I’m writing about, later in the week. There would definitely be a “collective” sort of vibe, too.
        Ultimately, it would need to be a dedicated space, so that writers can best utilize their own creative flow. It would be difficult, I think, to establish much momentum by saying, here’s a great place to come write and be creative, as long as you can do it between 8 and 10 a.m. on alternate Tuesdays. 🙂

  5. Point taken on the dedicated space (but think how far you could go if you could mechanize writing).
    Will be interested in your thoughts on the patron…

  6. You know, given the economy, there are plenty of little shopping strips (you know, the ones “anchored” by a grocery store?) where one or two shops are vacant. It might be relatively easy to do a mini-lease or something month-to-month (like the Halloween or Christmas stores that pop up for a couple months).

    There’s more to this idea, but I’ve got to run some kids to the bus stop…

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