I’ve gotten some questions recently about setting up a home office for a freelance writer. Truthfully, there isn’t much different about a freelance writer’s home office than most other home offices. Basically, you’ll need a computer, Internet access, a phone, and a printer. Those are common to just about any home office. There are a few specialized writer’s needs that need to be taken into consideration. We’ll discuss those here. If you want to know about things like desks and chairs, try another Google search for basic home office setup.
Freelance Writer’s Home Office Setup
There are certain things that every writer needs. These things are required whether you are setting up a home office or sharing a group office (aka working at Starbucks). I’ll assume that you already have a supply of pens and notebooks that are both useful and fun to own.
Setting up a small home office for a freelance writer is more about getting everything a professional writer needs close at hand than it is about replicating the typical corporate office. Just because you have to walk down the hallway to get something you print out when you work in a cubicle, doesn’t mean you should replicate that inefficiency for your home office. On the contrary, you should be creating a writer’s paradise.
Most freelance writers are entrepreneurs who work alone. If that describes you, then your office needs are simple and compact. Don’t bother creating a space to meet people in. As a freelance writer, there will be plenty of clients who want to meet with you face to face or to conduct conference calls with you, but there will never be anyone that wants to come over to your office. Unlike other freelancers, it is common knowledge that writers often work alone and often from home. There is no need to project some sort of big corporate presence to potential clients as a freelance writer.
Things A Writing Home Office Needs
The most important thing for a professional freelance writer is the ability to be comfortable writing for long periods at a time. In the corporate world there are staff meetings, co-workers to talk to, bosses’ offices to report to, kitchens to visit, and water coolers to stand around. At home, coworkers and bosses are an email or phone call away, both of which happen from the same desk you write at. There are no meetings, unless you count joining your kids for lunch a meeting, and the water cooler and kitchen are quick stops on the way to or from the bathroom.
In other words, a freelance writer working from a home office sits in one chair, in one office, for the whole work day.
A work at home freelance writer sits the whole day in one chair in one office.
A writer’s home office needs a good chair. Most people skip this and just throw in whatever extra chair they find around the house. Don’t make this mistake. You will spend hours in that chair every day. It needs to be a good office chair.
This brings us to Office Depot, Office Max, Costco, and other places you may buy your desk chair from. Read the description before you buy any chair. Just because it looks like an ergonomic chair doesn’t mean it is one. Just because it looks like the chair all of the managers get at a Fortune 500 company office doesn’t mean it functions like one.
Before you buy a chair, read the description and the tag. Before you read anything, know the terminology; it is not what you think it is.
Office chairs come in Light, Medium, and Heavy usage. Sometimes chairs are rated based on Casual, Moderate, or Intensive use. If you are guessing that you probably need an office chair with the middle rating, think again.
Moderate use, in the context of home office supply stores, means that it is intended for people who plan to sit in it 3 to 5 hours. If you can make a living as a freelance writer working just three hours at a time, you have the highest rates in the industry. Five hours is the minimum amount of time you will be spending in your chair each day as a full-time freelance writer. Get a heavy duty office chair, or plan to buy a new one within a year.
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