(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The founders of the very successful DC Writers Room are focusing their attention on Hudson as a likely site for their next project. They want to hear from local writers to gauge their interest in such an effort.
Charles Karelis and his son, Alexander Karelis, founded a writers’ space in Washington, DC, in 2012. The original Writers Room DC quickly became the literary nexus of the city: more than 13 published books, fiction and nonfiction came out of what was affectionately referred to by members as “The Space” in 2015 alone. Many more have appeared before and since. The Writers Room DC received press coverage in the Washington Post and elsewhere. The founders sold it in 2016 to one of its members, and it still serves a need today in the same place and with essentially the same mission and model.
Many cities have co-working spaces designed for writers now—there are six such writing rooms in New York City alone, some with waiting lists. Now, the Karelises are trying to gauge the enthusiasm of writers in the Hudson, N.Y., region for a similar effort here.
Amenities at such a space in Hudson would include well-designed workstations; ergonomic chairs; a comfortable break-room; and complete security, with entry via combination lock. In addition, the space would offer Wi-Fi, coffee, printing, and lockers—at no extra charge.
Among the benefits such writer spaces offer are:
- The absence of ringing phones and doorbells.
- The presence of other writers. Even writers with great writing space at home are discovering that motivation is highly contagious. (Isn’t that why so many of us prefer to do our sit-ups at the gym?)
- Locked storage for laptops during break-time, and for books and papers between work sessions.
- No extra charge for printers, pens, paper, or coffee.
- Monthly memberships, which entitle members to the use of a workstation anytime, are affordable—not much more than the cost of a latte and a newspaper a day.
- On a less tangible level, many patrons of these spaces around the country say that becoming a member conveys one’s seriousness about one’s writing project to friends, family, and oneself.
As for the timing, the space would not open until COVID was no longer a concern.
“We need and value input from Hudson Valley writers,” says Alex Karelis. “You can help us scale and refine our project going forward by sending us your thoughts on some or all of the following:
- Would you benefit from a writers’ space like this in Hudson? How?
- What hours might you need a space like this, or would that vary widely? Would your needs vary by season?
- Would you benefit from associated programming such as meet-the-agent nights, classes, on-call research assistants or editors, social activities?
- If you’d be willing, we would be very, very interested in anything you’d care to tell us about your current or planned writing project, for whatever this might tell us about making the space we’re planning more useful.
Respondents will be welcomed with a free week at the Writers Room once it opens.
And, as a final favor, we would deeply appreciate it if you could forward this questionnaire to other writers of your acquaintance. If everyone reading this forwarded it to two writing acquaintances, we would quickly reach everyone in town who might benefit.
You may find it convenient to paste the above questions into an email and insert your responses in the appropriate spaces. Or you may prefer to paste the questions into a Word document, add your answers, and send that as an attachment.
Please send replies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Karelis is a longtime acquaintance of mine dating back to when I attended Williams College, where he taught philosophy at the time. Karelis is a longtime academic, the former president of Colgate University, and author of the book “The Persistence of Poverty,” among others.
With his son, Alexander, who is also a writer, the two make a dynamic pair, and given their expertise and experience, are well-positioned to make a go of this effort, to turn this dream into reality.