Constance Hale on writing collectives

Every artist needs solitude and society, which is why I am a member of the Grotto—a workplace for professional writers that celebrated its 20-year anniversary in December 2014. Bonnie Tsui, one of my Grotto colleagues, wrote in a New York Times "Draft" column about what she has gained from working alongside other writers: "It has reminded me of the reason I became a writer in the first place. We don’t write in a vacuum. We write because we want to share a piece of ourselves with someone else." One of the way we Grottonians "share pieces of ourselves" with each other is through our in-house listserv. A recent conversation generated a list of other places more or less like the Grotto. I've included them here in case you live somewhere else where there is a similar community—or in case you want to start one. If there are others that you would recommend, please add to the comments.

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The Allen Room Located in the main New York Public Library building, Robert Caro wrote The Power Broker here. Open to those with book contracts, writers have permission to use a dedicated room with cubicles and can keep books out from the stacks of the research library in the room for up to 30 days. Brooklyn Creative League The Brooklyn Creative League rents workspaces, both physical and virtual (see their "virtual office membership"), to creative professionals, writers included. Brooklyn Writers Space The Brooklyn Writers Space is a shared office space that was founded by playwrights Scott Adkins and Erin Courtney. Since opening in 2002, the Brooklyn Writers Space's mission has been to provide a quiet, professional environment for writers. Impact Hub Impact Hub is an international network of coworking communities. There are locations across the United States. In the Bay Area, Impact Hub communities are located in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Membership benefits include use of their coworking spaces as well as access to events and more. Paragraph Paragraph is a membership organization for writers located in a Greenwich Village loft. This writing center was founded by two graduates of the New School's creative writing graduate program. The Castro Writers' Cooperative This is a small community of professional writers located steps away from Castro Street in San Francisco. The Grotto A workspace for self-employed writers of all genres, filmmakers, radio/TV producers, new media creators and others. The Grotto also offers classes on writing and hosts community events. The Writers' Mill The Writers' Mill, located in Northampton, MA, welcomes writers of all genres whether they're published or not. The Writers Room Founded in 1978, this New York City nonprofit is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, collective writers spaces. More than 1,000 books have been written by its members since it first opened. The Writers’ Room of Boston The Writers' Room of Boston is an office for writers who seek a quiet, affordable workspace in a secure location. Members have access to the room 24 hours a day. Writers of all levels of experience and skill are invited to submit applications for membership. The Writers' Studio at The Center for Fiction The Writers' Studio in New York City offers membership to writers of all genres, at any stage in their careers. Members have access to The Center for Fiction's circulating collection of 85,000 titles.

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What are your thoughts on finding your tribe versus needing the freedom to stretch, roll on the ground, groan or otherwise go through your writing process in private?

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{Research assists on this list were provided by Kailani Moran.}

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2 Responses to Constance Hale on writing collectives

  1. Joan Steidinger February 26, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

    What is it about San Francisco that their are so few community writing spaces? You’ve listed a bunch in NYC but nothing in our area. Even as President of CWC-Marin, I feel a sense of isolation and connection to serious writers. It’s very disappointing.

  2. Connie Hale February 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    Joan, I did list the Writers Grotto. 🙂

    There is also something called The Coop, which used to be called the Sanchez Annex: http://www.castrowriterscoop.com/our-story.html.

    I know some writers who work at Impact Hub, in the old SF Chronicle Building, and there is also NextSpace on 2nd. Here’s a Yelp page on some: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Shared+Workspace&find_loc=San+Francisco%2C+CA

    It’s hard to make these work, and with the price of rents it’s a huge gamble for the person or few people who start them.

    Let me know if you hear of others.

    Connie

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