Working remotely gives me an excuse to work anywhere in the world, but to accomplish something, I need a few key things; a chair, a desk, good Wi-Fi, power and coffee. Also, a roof over my head to keep me dry, should it rain, would be useful too. For a travelling content creator who writes for a living and doesn’t have an office, or a permanent address for that matter, it’s essential I know where I can go to produce the best work.
Some people love to work in coffee houses, while others go with daily-office rentals and some are just happy to sit on the beach in a sun-lounger. For the best results, however, I take heed of what my mother used to say, as I prefer to go to the library.
CENTRAL AND CONVENIENT
City libraries are usually found in the central hub of an urban development. They are clearly demarcated city landmarks too, so they’re easy to find. If you’re new to a city, you could spend hours trying to find a decent coffee house with the heady combination of Wi-Fi and convenient charging stations that you need, only to discover that they are noisy and distracting. If you’re pressed and on a deadline or have a Skype call scheduled with someone, this could cause a lot of trouble and stress. The alternative is to just head straight to the city library; a place where people have come to work, learn and think for centuries.
QUIET AND FOCUSSED
All of my income comes from writing content for people and businesses and the topics range from entertainment to environmental policies; product reviews for financial companies and objective assessments on the latest cars and travel gear. I’ve made a name for myself creating content about a range of different topics, while always remaining interesting, engaging and shareable. While I relish this kind of challenge, but it does require thinking time.
I used to frequent coffee houses and create towers of empty coffee cups all around me as I tried to write, but it was so easy to be distracted by someone else’s conversation, or the waitress asking if I’d care for another coffee. I would leave eventually, usually unsatisfied with my work, but with such a caffeine buzz that I felt I needed a pint of pure gin just to even myself out. Also, as daily routine, working at a coffee house costs a fortune!
Libraries are designed for study and reference. They offer privacy and solitude. They are a place of thinking, education and knowledge and as such, inspire a level of focus that I cannot find anywhere else.
HUBS OF INFORMATION
Libraries have had to change wth the times. I remember the 90s, when libraries did not offer plug sockets to visitors because everything that needed to be plugged in by a member of the public was likely to make a noise and so, was not permitted through the door. Libraries, when I was a child, were hushed, quiet places where the loudest sounds were the turning of pages.
Today, whatever can be found in a book can be found online, faster, simpler and with fewer papercuts. So, libraries have had to keep themselves current to ensure a constant slew of visitors. They’ve had to make room for computers, desks for laptop users, free Wi-Fi and charging sockets.
Furthermore, libraries are and always have been, a place for innovation and new information. Many now curate events as well as books, with gallery exhibitions and networking sessions regularly held amongst the displays of new technology, information technology devices and local information.
If you’re new to a city, a library is a great place to pick up information regarding the best places to visit in order to heighten your experience.
GREAT FOR MEETINGS
Wherever possible, I like to talk with my clients directly, to discuss their marketing needs. This can be done via Skype, phone or email, but I like to make the extra effort. I’ve noticed that a client will almost always suggest a local coffee house for a physical meet, usually because it is a local to their office or home and they are familiar with it. The local library is rarely thought of as a place for business meetings, but with fewer distractions and background noise, my library meetings are concluded in half the time and with noticeably positive results.
There are some libraries that have caught onto this idea and offer top of the line meeting rooms for business people to conduct presentations and face to face get togethers. It usually costs a fraction of other facilities and many come with the latest audio-visual equipment and technology.
You know the smell of old books? That odour that is a little musty but yet, so satisfying? The kind of smell that has you wandering into secondhand bookstores, just so you can stand there and breathe in through your nose? It’s called biblochor and for a book lover like me, it is seriously addictive.
During my summer holidays in South Africa, I used to travel with my dad into Durban City and visit the library. It was in the same building as the Durban museum and the art gallery and I saw it as this vast, never ending trough of treasures. In the library section, my arms filled with at least a dozen different books, I would find a quiet corner amongst the shelves and sit and read for hours, feeling like some sort of magic traveller peeking into someone else’s story. The biblichor became synonymous with this feeling.
Today, I can’t sit in a library without feeling a little bit nostalgic about it all.
Indeed, in every city I visit, I hit the library first. My mother would be very proud.