Although Hoboken has shed much of its old-school bohemian, artistic vibe in favor of sports bars, luxury rentals, and various invasions of costumed drunks, there’s still a beating creative heart in this town. You can see it just about any night at the various open mics and other live music venues, you can see it in the art galleries in town, and you can see it at any of the amazing productions put on by the Mile Square Theater. There’s obviously a strong creative culture in this town.
This extends to writers, of course, but writing by its very nature is less noticeable. Writers don’t often rent out space and put on shows, and their activities aren’t as obvious. The folks sitting with their laptops at Panera all day might be writers, sure. They might also be freelance designers or just people who can play games for a really, really long time. Writing can seem a bit lonely because of that; if you’re a writer trying to improve your craft, it might seem like there are no resources in town for you, but you’d be wrong—there’s more than you think.
While a few folks have tried to spark a writing-based Meetup in Hoboken to little success, despite the fact that a proposed Meetup for creative writing has 50 interested folks waiting for an organizer. But there are several Writer’s Groups meeting in town. Writer’s Groups typically exchange short pieces of work, read them, then gather to offer feedback and discuss technique.
The Hoboken Public Library Writer’s Group meets on Monday at the library; you can email them at [email protected] for more information and to send along some work for the other members to read.
Little City Books sponsors a Writer’s Group that meets on Tuesdays, and they also sponsor the occasional helpful writer’s seminar. For example, on Tuesday, January 23rd they’re hosting the second “GET IT OUT!” writing and publishing workshop conducted by Caren Lissner, where aspiring writers can have their work assessed and critiqued by a writer who has published several novels and stories, seen her novel Carrie Pilby adapted into a feature film, and published numerous essays at places like McSweeney’s.
Over at the Symposia Bookstore, they host a creative writing workshop in Spanish every Monday evening. They read from the works of famous Spanish writers, then read and critique work assigned by the moderator. If you’re a Spanish-speaking writer it’s an ideal way to hone your skills. It costs $300 to participate; you can get more information by emailing mailto:[email protected].
Finally, sometimes the difference between finishing that novel and going slowly insane is finding a place to work in. Some folks are fine at home—but some find that to be claustrophobic. Some folks like to hang out in coffee shops—but others find them loud and the pressure to keep snacking and sipping to justify your spot a distraction. You can skip all that by renting some office space over at Mission50, located at 50 Harrison Street. You can rent a desk for $20 any day you want, and they also offer monthly plans and reserved desks, private offices, and other services. Plus there’s WiFi, a kitchen space, free water, a lounge, free coffee and tea, parking, and storage lockers available. If you want some noise and people around but want a dedicated space to work, it might be the ideal spot.
Not all writers need groups and other resources; some do just fine on their own. But if you’re looking for a little help or encouragement, some of these resources might make all the difference.