No matter what kind of work you do, your work space affects how you work and what you produce. I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’ve started sharing an office at the Docklands in Melbourne with a few literary organisations and a number of writers who, like me, want a professional space to work in, and the companionship and resource-sharing that co-working enables. The experience has brought me into contact with some great creative people—among them, people from The Lifted Brow, Archer Magazine, Ricochet Magazine, and The Shoe Alternative.
The Docklands Spaces project is an initiative to “activate some of the currently underutilised spaces in Docklands through incubating short-term uses by creative enterprises and independent local initiatives on a rent-free basis.” So, creative types get to try out ideas, collaborate, and experiment without having to pay high rent. And they do it in the proximity of others at a similar point in their careers, although perhaps working in different fields. As a result of the Docklands Spaces initiative, all sorts of creative enterprises have popped up around Docklands, and I’ve barely begun to explore them all (I’m only in the office about one day a week at the moment).
As a writer, most of my work is solitary. It demands quiet, and focus, and often much walking around. This new experiment in co-working has been interesting for getting a sense of how creative people might work alongside each other, and how physical presence might lead to creative cross-pollination. For me, the office space is bearing fruit already: I have a story forthcoming in the next issue of Archer, and a tiny piece of nonfiction in the latest issue of The Lifted Brow. This issue’s focus in on medicine, so I wrote a very small piece about the joys of medicine cabinets. You can buy the issue via The Lifted Brow’s site for the bargain price of $9. How great to find that sharing physical space can lead to sharing textual space, too.