Finding the Best Place to Write as a Remote Writer

Jarratt Isted Jarratt Isted on

Times are changing for writers. For the first time, many of us are no longer shoved into a dingy cubicle. We're not longer told to write 'something' and get on with it.

There's a major shift happening with the rise of content marketing. Us writers are no longer required to move ourselves to a sad looking office. Instead, many of us are writing remotely.

Some move into a co-working space. Others work in their own home office. Some writers love the buzz of the coffee shop, and take a pew there for a few hours to write their piece.

It's time to get your head down, start working hard, and get writing. Here's a rundown on different places you can work on your next piece.

I like bright, quiet, places filled with natural light, and I prefer working from home. It's all about finding the place you write best in. Deciding where to write is a tricky business.

It's all about altering, adapting, and hacking the environment. It's about making the space work for you—not about you working for it.

Creating a productive environment is important stuff. Not just because you need to get your work published. In fact, The American Psychological Association found that around $500 billion is invested in solving stress-related issues in the workplace.

[...] more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job.

Emma Seppala & Kim Cameron, Harvard Business Review

It's time to put your head down, start working hard, and get writing. Here's a rundown on different places you can work on your next piece, and how to get the most out of each.

Pay and Make Use of a Co-Working Space

I've tried co-working. It didn't go very well.

It's probably because I'm not the most social person. Or maybe it was the wrong space for me. I just wasn't productive at all!

I was sitting down at the hot desk to power through some marketing, but I got distracted. A lot.

Why?

People would leave their lovely (sound-proof) offices to have a chat on the phone! Ridiculous. Maybe it was just a one-off bad experience, but there was no way I was gonna get any good writing done there.

While I don't like the idea of working in a space full of other humans, that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't try it. When it comes to finding the right environment to write in, I'm a true believer in trying everything. But maybe just the once.

See what works.

There's tons of options out there. WeWork is super popular because it has spaces all over the globe. The price isn't outrageous either. I've been to WeWork London Southbank for a meetup, and it was super lovely!

WeWork London Southbank may be a great co-working productive environment. Is it one of the best places to write?

WeWork in London Southbank might be a great place to write.

Does a co-working space make sense for being productive and getting all those words written? It depends. Is it one of the best places to write? Maybe not.

The best part is interacting and socializing with fellow writers, marketers, and founders. The open spaces are usually pretty casual so it's easy to fire up a conversation. Depending on your work ethic, you'll either find that awesome or terrifying.

Some co-working spaces do have an obvious section where you can squirrel yourself away to write or edit your article, but it's far from the norm. And if you're there writing alongside 100 of your closest friends, you may find you get distracted. If that's the case, it's just not worth the hit to your wallet.

[...] these types of work spaces aren’t for everyone so before you decide to choose one as your working environment, you should analyze the pros and cons.

Ramon Ray, Smart Hustle

It all depends on how you write best. Do you prefer a silent atmosphere, one with people talking, or do you love to pop on your headphones and listen to music full blast?

According to author Jeff Goins, you might like to try writing during the night. Although co-working spaces are likely to be closed at 2am.

Takeaway: Co-working spaces are a great option if you're looking to up your social life and you don't mind a little chit-chat in the background while you're writing. Give it a try and see if it works for you. Management are sometimes willing to give you a free day so you can try it out—just ask.

Your Local Café

It's not just hipsters that hang out at café's. Often times I'll walk in my local 'bucks and see at least half a dozen people tapping away at their keyboards. It's no surprise seeing as many modern cafe's are designed to be your 'third home'. They're designed to keep you there buying coffee for longer.

All the plugs, comfy seating, and pleasant ambience makes these locations great spaces to write your 1,500 word essay. Great spaces for some people that is. For some they are the best places to write. For others, not so much.

Café Productivity and the Buzz might make where to write a breeze.

But if not everyone, who exactly?

I'll be honest, I don't like working in cafe's either. It all seems a little odd to me.

I feel as if I'm always in someone's way when I plonk myself on a seat and start furiously typing away (I get really into it). I find the noise distracting too.

If you can escape your desk every so often, you should. It boosts memory, opens up new ideas, and provides needed escape.

Kevin Purdy, Lifehacker

Same as busy co-working spaces, if you have a knack at tuning people out and you're used to an environment with people walking, talking, sipping, and pouring it might be a great place to get some hours in.

One huge benefit is having lovely beverages just seconds away from your seat. Plus, if you're there often enough you'll undoubtedly make friends with the baristas behind the bar. Baristas are fascinating people that're surprisingly well connected, and if you're looking to find new guest writers for your company blog these people can probably hook you up.

You should have a go at getting your laptop out your bag and trying to get some words down at your local café. It's worth a try, particularly if the words tend to flow and you get more done.

Takeaway: Cafés can be fantastic for increasing your productivity. It depends on which environment you write best in. If you give it a go and like it, you could spend your work days sipping delicious coffee while publishing the latest company blog post. Sound like heaven?

Home Sweet Home

Ah, home is where the heart is, right? But is it where the work is? Again, it depends.

The beauty about working from home is that you can alter the space endlessly and make it yours.

I work from home at my 4 meter conference table. Do I need such a large table for my small laptop? No—but it's pretty awesome to have.

There's endless possibilities when you're working from home, and I find it perfect. It's not all unicorns and rainbows, though.

For one, you don't see anyone else unless you arrange it. Your weekly grocery shop starts to become the weekly event to get out and about.

It's sad.

Also, you might find that if you have family around all day they tend to pester you. Besides, if you're at home you're not working, right?

Working alone is great for concentration in short bursts, but if there is no relief from the thoughts in your own head, it can quickly become demoralising.

Judy Heminsley, The Guardian

This means you might find your writing zen gets interrupted. Unless you can find a place to go and write in the home with nobody around, this isn't a good place for a writer.

Your best bet might be to buy a great pair of noise cancelling headphones and stick them on. This way, people will know not to mess with you when you're in the zone. You don't have to listen to music either.

Takeaway: Making your home your office isn't easy, particularly if you have kids running around the house. Make sure to find a space that works for you, and to get out and remember to socialize.

Next Steps

It's important to regularly think about how to change your environment to get the most out of your work day. Will moving that plant a few inches to the left help? Perhaps. How about listening to some mellow tunes? Maybe. You need to think of the best places to write for you.

When you're working remotely, you need to think about how to get the most out of each article.

What's going to make you write better words, quicker? What's going to inspire you to run your next marketing experiment? Where do you see yourself doing your best work?

Try a ton of different spaces and don't be afraid to ask your boss if they'd be willing to cover the costs of a co-working space or new work desk for home.

The happier workspace will shine through your writing, and you'll likely see a massive difference.

Do you write remotely? If you do, share your awesome tips with us in the comments below! 👍

Jarratt Isted
Toronto, Canada
Jarratt is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Contentacle. He loves design, UX and penguins.