Part 1 of alternative places to write in L.A.
By Grant Stoner, Writer
Recently, like so many other Americans amidst our brand new Great Depression, I found myself without a cubicle in which to toil away in obscurity for the rest of my days. After sending out 7.2 million resumes without response, I was mired in self-pity, which is not the most productive place to be. I then decided to take control of my life, go back to school, and work on projects that I love. I could do it all from home, spend time with my kids, and maybe, just maybe find an awesome freelance writing job to help pay the bills. Frighteningly, and not without its struggles, things are kinda working out. Yay! I get to work from home!!! Well … like houseboats, backpacking across Europe, or camping, working from home sounds quite a bit cooler than it really is. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have an enclosed home office with all the amenities, you probably deal with the same frustrations as me. Yelling kids, rickety dining room chair, dishes piled up in the kitchen, and dust bunnies that need attending to right away.
So now what?
When you need to get out of the house, the typical alternative is your local Starbucks/Coffee Bean/Peet’s location. Not without their merits – free wi-fi, snacks, caffeine – a crowded, noisy coffee shop is not the most conducive to the creative process. There are also plenty of interesting, non-chain coffee shops in L.A., which you can check out on this nice Huffington Post piece highlighting the top 10 according to Deborah Shoeneman. My goal, however, was to find other resources that our fair city has to offer. My aim is to do a series of brief articles/reviews of alternative places for scribes to scribble outside of their living rooms.
First stop, The Office L.A.
I first heard about The Office L.A. through a friend, and shortly thereafter began following them on Twitter (you can too @theOffice_LA). Soon after, I received a message from them offering a free week to check out their space. Cha-ching… they had me hooked with free! It is a membership-based space, the details of which I’ll get into later. Once I finally decided to redeem the offer, I gave them a call and thus began my mission to find all the fantastic places to write in Los Angeles. The first stop couldn’t have been any better. My initial phone call was taken by Wade who gave me the lowdown, and warmly invited me to come down and try them out. It is located in the Brentwood neighborhood, directly across the street from The Brentwood Country Mart. Not the most convenient location in town, but an incredibly nice neighborhood with tons of restaurants and shops within walking distance. The Office has a few free parking spots in the back, but in my week of working there, I never found one open. No matter, there is plenty of metered parking as well as 2-hour free parking in the neighborhood behind the building. When I arrived the first time (you need to call ahead to make sure they have space for paying members), I was greeted again by Wade, who gave me a (quiet) tour of the facilities.
First of all, the space is quite beautiful and tranquil, and as their website mentions, the “interior designed by Serena Walther Leventhal, with furniture and finishes designs by Tony Schubert and a good dose of Feng Shui by Master David Cho,” it all works to create a quiet and peaceful place to write. The key here is quiet. All the stations are open, facing the center of the room, so silence is key, and expected. Amenities are solid, including internet and wi-fi, complimentary coffee and tea, as well as a useful resource library with industry info and directories. There is also a community computer, and if you need to listen to music or watch video, they offer Bose headphones to check out. Bottom line, this is a great place to write when you need to get out of the house. You can spend your day here as long as you play the parking shuffle, and you can feel safe to leave your belongings to move the car or grab lunch. The cost is not chump change, $149 per month, but if you are pecking away at your local coffee house, you may be spending that much anyway. So check-em out, ask for Wade. Tell them Grant sent you!
256 26th Street, Suite 101
Santa Monica, CA
Next article I’ll cover the Santa Monica Public Library… yeah, you read that right.
Grant Stoner is a freelance writer and producer, currently finishing up his BA in Business and Social Entrepreneurship at Antioch University Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter @Grant_Stoner and connect with him on LinkedIn here.