Daytime cubicle-dweller, nighttime coworker, full-time awesome Marianne Kirby
Daytime cubicle-dweller, nighttime coworker, full-time awesome Marianne Kirby, one of the new members of CoLab

Freelance writer finds inspiration in Orlando creative space

By day, Marianne Kirby parks herself in a cubicle world as a tech editor. By night, Marianne pulls up a chair or a beanbag and awakens her creative side at CoLab Orlando. At the beginning of summer, Marianne joined the CoLab Lounge, a collaborative work environment where she rents the space she needs for the time it will take her to complete her next writing project. The freelance writer and aspiring novelist finds it easier to work in the Orlando creative space than, say, a coffee house or her living room. Here’s what she had to say about her CoLab experience.

How did you hear about CoLab? I was familiar with the sort of general idea of coworking, so I started exploring workspaces in Orlando that didn’t have my husband, my dog and the television. I contacted Urban Rethink, and they put me in touch with Community Director Brian Wilson via Twitter. I needed a place that offered night hours. After my day job, I come in at 6 at night and stay until 9 or 10 and then leave.

What made you want to use a coworking space? I know that a lot of people are really disciplined about going in a room and closing the door. I have to have less distractions than at home. I think there is something about creative space that is dedicated to working that makes it easier to focus. It’s very isolating to work at home. In the coworking lab, there is always something going on, but it’s very productive. Everybody is working and busy and passionate about what they are doing. If you are at home and someone is cooking and the television is on, it makes it easy to slack off. At CoLab, they are working on marketing. They’re developing new products. They’re figuring out how to use social media for networking and that sort of thing.

What are your thoughts about the CoLab community? I think it’s really amazing. I love being a small part of it. People are doing amazing things. It’s one of those places where you are always learning something new. I think it’s also a beautiful building in a great location. It’s a pleasure to go there and do work because the surroundings are so awesome.


What are the advantages to working in a coworking space? There’s definitely a better separation of work and home. I go there, and I get my work done, and I go home. And I don’t feel guilty about watching two hours of Antiques Roadshow on Netflix. It makes home a place to relax instead of work. Networking is also difficult for freelancers. CoLab is really good for that. The people there are interested in connecting people with other people.

How does coworking inspire you to be better at what you do? It’s definitely making me more productive. It makes me a better time manager. I can sit on my couch all night long. At CoLab, I know I have a certain window to get my work done. I can tell people, “Hey, I can’t chat with you now. I can’t look at your pictures on Facebook.” It makes me take my work seriously. It feels less like a hobby.

Door open or closed? Door open. I like having the opportunity to see other people coming and going. Those sort of momentary connections I like. I also like being around other people. I’m a textbook extrovert, so knowing people are there makes me happier.

“I’m an extrovert. But I work alone.” read more from Marianne.

What about your job do you love the most? I really love connecting with people. The writing I do mostly looks at sort of personal things and making them accessible to other people. Whether it’s body image or something happening in the media, that connection with people is incredibly powerful. A lot of things I write, I have people say they never thought of something that way before. Helping people see things from a different perspective is how you change the world. We are all kind of stuck in our own heads. When you can get people to acknowledge that, there is another way to see things it’s a pretty big deal.

Describe the differences between a cubicle environment and CoLab. In the cubicle environment, it really is kind of featureless. It’s a fairly rigid environment. Cubicles are metaphors for all sorts of things, like big faceless corporations. Here, you’ve got a lot of flexibility. I work out of the lounge. I can move the table to look out whatever window I want to look out of. I can sit on the beanbag chair, or I can get up and walk around if I need a change of scenery. You are not trapped in one spot or one configuration.

If you were trying to convince someone to join CoLab, what would you tell them? It would depend on the person. I would have to tell them that it’s so much more productive than working at home. It’s inspiring to have a place to go and be a part of. It’s a community. There’s so many people here that I never would have met without CoLab, people doing all sorts of things. There are other writers. There are people making video games. The magician for the Orlando Magic is here. They are people I would have never come into contact with otherwise… Everything shows up in your writing. You never know what you are going to need to know and use.

Follow Marianne @TheRotund See what else she has to say about CoLab HERE: 

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At CoLab Orlando, entrepreneurs share common spaces with other like-minded professionals. You can drop in for a day, a night, a week, part-time or full-time. CoLab can meet your time needs. The coffee is always hot and ready, and other members of the CoLab community will step in to share opinions and experiences when asked. Come join us for an adventure in working at 37 N. Orange Ave., Suite 910.

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