Coworking spaces come in all shapes and styles. In addition to an exciting emergence of workspaces that cater to niche requirements and specific industries, we’re also seeing great diversity in the size of spaces.
Indeed, there are plenty of large spaces on the market and fresh consolidations creating well-funded mega-brands in cities across the US and, particularly, in Asian markets such as China.
But, who says that bigger is better? One particular workspace that has thrown the sizing guide out the window is 702WI, a new coworking space for writers in Madison, Wisconsin.
At just 1,000 sq ft, the cosy coworking space accommodates a maximum of 8 members at any one time. 702WI (the WI stands for “writer incubator”) is operated by Reading Group Choices, a company that recommends books for reading group discussion.
“702WI is a coworking space for writers, in the broadest sense of the term,” says Mary Morgan of Reading Group Choices. “It’s not just novelists or poets, but people writing code, grants, video games, songs, marketing materials, anything!”
It’s located on the first floor of a small building at 702 E Johnson St., and alongside physical workspace it also provides space for events, galleries, reading groups and meetings.
“More and more people are working outside of a traditional office setting,” Mary said, explaining her reasons for launching the workspace. “People can work from a library or a coffee shop or a living room couch, but sometimes you can lose some of the benefits of working in a regular work environment – connecting with other people and sharing ideas – and sometimes your living room is not as quiet as you need it to be.”
Focus for authors
“702WI offers a smaller, more focused form of a coworking space, and provides benefits specific to the focus. Often, writing positions are freelance or contract-based, so 702WI focuses on offering space for that industry.”
Despite its size, Mary explains that the workspace will cover its own costs providing it retains up to 8 members along with event space bookings. Given the popularity of niche workspaces and a particular interest in coworking spaces for writers, it’s a good time to launch an industry-specific workspace – particularly as 702WI operates (almost) around the clock.
“Each member of 702WI can use the space 6am-midnight daily,” Mary explained, adding that she intends the space to be flexible and amenable to members’ needs, including the option to come-and-go as required. “I won’t have set hours and there will not be a receptionist. Members will receive a door code so they don’t have to worry about losing yet another key!”
Explaining how the idea for a writers’ coworking space came about, she said: “I had been looking for an office space for a while and considering a shared office space.” This particular space is based in the center of town and according to Mary, its location near the lake, along with local restaurants and cafes, made it particularly appealing. “It seemed like a perfect size and feel.”
Connecting through events
Since launching at the beginning of May, Mary is working to attract coworking members through an events program with Reading Group Choices, including an open house and numerous author events.
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Further down the line, Mary is planning more events for the year “including community events like gallery nights and music nights … to connect 702WI to the community.”
Reading Group Choices was established in 1994, yet this is the first time the organization has had its own physical location.
“We organize and host author events at bookstores and book festivals all over the US, but we had not yet made those connections in Madison,” added Mary.
“So, 702WI is our way to do that – to bring authors who we have recommended to Madison and to introduce them to readers and book groups at 702WI.”
*Images courtesy of 702WI