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How This Writer Leases Office Space for Less Than $40 a Month

Updated on August 21, 2013
One of the Buildings in Bellevue, WA, Where I "Lease Office Space"
One of the Buildings in Bellevue, WA, Where I "Lease Office Space" | Source

One of the key defining points of a writer is that he can readily tap into his creativity.

On that point alone, I fail miserably. I don't do anything readily, for all of life is a struggle for me, and when I'm finally able to access my creativity, it's more often than not as dormant as a popcorn kernel that simply refuses to live up to its matter how long after you've burnt its next of kin.

But one thing I manage to do well when it comes to creativity is to find ways to save money.

When it comes to doing cheap , I am very much a front runner.

The way I look at it, if I can keep my expenses down, then I'm making money as a writer.

Case in point--finding great commercial real estate at lowball prices. You know...inexpensive office space.

What am I talking about? Why, your friendly neighborhood coffee shop!

Starbucks on the Alaskan Way Waterfront in Seattle, Washington
Starbucks on the Alaskan Way Waterfront in Seattle, Washington | Source

Living in the Pacific Northwest--arguably, the coffee capital of the world--I'm blessed that corporate-owned as well as independent coffee shops are abundant and easily accessible.

And where there's coffee shops, you'll undoubtedly find free chairs, tables, maybe an occasional sofa, and FREE WI-FI! (I put my favorite four letter word starting with F in italics because there is a kind of cover incidental expense...a mere pittance.)

It's the cost of the coffee. Or whatever beverage or goody you're inclined to purchase on any given day.

I mean, as busy as some of these places are, I could probably walk in with a coffee mug and attempt to blend in, finding a seat in the midst of other Pacific Northwest bodies and, you know, simply merging into seated traffic.

Yes, I'm cheap enough to do that. But I just haven't found the nerve to attempt that stealthy strategy.

So I plop down the obligatory $1.79, 8.7% state sales tax for Walla Walla County included, for a tall cup of Starbucks bold. (Or, $2.17 for a mango-raspberry smoothie at Hardback Cafe, or an endless cup of coffee at Coffee Connections...anyway, you get my drip, uh, drift.)

I might travel downtown via bus (I just gave you a preview for another cheapie hub project) about 15 to 20 times each month. So my imaginary lease or rent or cover charge or writer's fees...or whatever one might call it...averages less than $40 a month.

Parking myself where I can sip my beverage and enjoy a pastry or bagel, I mentally jump off of a caffeine peak and enjoy wherever the free fall takes me. Sometimes, the very energy of the customers within each shop carries me, like a wave beneath my board, from the ocean depths to sandy shore.

Tully's Coffee at the International District, Seattle, Washington
Tully's Coffee at the International District, Seattle, Washington | Source

Outside, the ebb and flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic may very well be just the right amount of inspiration to get me through each mini-writer's block I might encounter.

Sometimes, my writing takes off like a sprint, and I can barely contain the racing thoughts that have been jet-fueled with four shots of espresso in my venti-sized Americano.

Other times, it's all about putting one cerebral foot in front of the other in a plodding tortoise's marathon from one side of the highway to the other.

In either event, I manage to work my way through the bittersweet word-wrestling. Hours into my mentally exhausting and yet amusing labor, a hub or post is born.

Hardback Coffee Cafe in Walla Walla, Washington
Hardback Coffee Cafe in Walla Walla, Washington | Source
Writer's Tools--Cup of Coffee and Laptop--at Coffee Connections in Walla Walla, Washington
Writer's Tools--Cup of Coffee and Laptop--at Coffee Connections in Walla Walla, Washington | Source

It's time for a refill as I sense the caffeine waning in my system. But before I end this piece, I'm reminded of the two or three times I've traveled to the top of the Columbia Center building in downtown Seattle.

At 76 stories high, the Columbia Center is easily the tallest building in Washington state and twentieth overall in the United States.

At the very top floor of this magnificent building is the second highest Starbucks coffee shop in the world! Only China's Taipei World Financial Center brandishes the corporate coffee shop's green logo at a higher altitude.

Someday, when I've managed to save enough ducats, writing large while living frugally in and out of coffee shops, I may just achieve a literal--and literary--high...tapping out a hub from that statuesque java restaurant in China.

Until then, here's a view of the building that houses the highest coffee shop--and inexpensive office space--I've ever written in.

Watch your step now!

Ground Level, Columbia Center, Seattle, Washington
Ground Level, Columbia Center, Seattle, Washington | Source
Bottom Third, Columbia Center, Seattle, Washington
Bottom Third, Columbia Center, Seattle, Washington | Source
Slowly Making Our Way Up
Slowly Making Our Way Up | Source
We're There! Uh-oh, You've Got a Nosebleed!
We're There! Uh-oh, You've Got a Nosebleed! | Source


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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ rajan jolly

    Hi, my friend! I'd written you a nice comment after reading your sponge cake recipe, but for some reason, it may have lost its way. Let me know if it shows up. I posted the comment earlier today.

    In any event, yes, I love coffee shops. Whatever the chemistry may be, I get energized and motivated in those sites in ways that I can't seem to find at home. Perhaps it has something to do with my eBay business demands whenever I'm in my little office. When I used to live in Seattle, there'd literally be a Starbucks shop every other block or so, not to mention a host of other corporate and independent shops. Wrote a lot of blog posts in those venues. Thank you so much for honoring me with your visit today. I consider you a writing mentor, and so it is always a privilege and a pleasure to read your work and to hear from you. Aloha, my friend!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Really enjoyed this, should I say a lesson in frugality! Nice to have a place where one can have some mental stimulation to write. And when space is cheap who wouldn't love it!!

    Some lovely pictures as well.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Merci beaucoup!

    J'ai pris le français au lycée de retour dans les années soixante, et c'est un miracle que je me souviens encore quelques-unes des choses que j'ai apprises ... comme, "Pardonnez-moi, mademoiselle, où est le café le plus proche Starbucks?"

    Au revoir!

    Hawaiian Odysseus

  • carozy profile image

    carozy 5 years ago from San Francisco

    Cafes are the perfect place to write, sit and mellow out, or read. I'm lucky to live in a city with a lot of them also (San Francisco) and have written a few hubs at a cafe or two. Found this article good writing, an entertaining read.

  • ib radmasters profile image

    ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California


    Thanks for the answer. Unfortunately Southern California doesn't have the best public transportation system. So at $4.50 a gallon, that would be expensive rent.

    Thanks also for the good wishes, and enjoy cheap rent.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Gamerelated! Thank you for dropping by once again. HubPages is like this really cool neighborhood where you can go for a walk and get sidetracked saying hello to lots of really interesting people. You're certainly one of them. Yeah, I write with tongue firmly embedded in cheek...must've been that huge hit I took as a stand-in freshman quarterback at Kapa'a High School back in the day. LOL! Once I make my rounds (catching up can be challenging because of my business), I'll stop by to check in on you again. I just love learning about high tech subjects from you! Take care!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ib radmasters

    Hello, there! I'm glad you asked that question about how I got to the skyscraper.

    I worked as a bagel baker in Redmond, a city adjacent to Bellevue. After work, I'd catch a bus to Bellevue. Or, on my days off, I'd catch a light rail from near the home I was renting in the Rainier Valley to downtown Seattle and then commute by bus to Bellevue. Seattle has very good public transportation, arguably somewhere in the top ten in the country. The coffee shop, Tully's, is located at ground level. Bellevue is now the second largest city in Washington state. The architecture leads me to think of it as a mini Houston. Thanks for reading, and best wishes for continued success here on HP!

  • Gamerelated profile image

    Gamerelated 5 years ago from California

    Hello hawaiianodysseus, this is an interesting story about being frugal. I never thought of buying coffee as paying rent. It was a very entertaining and well written story. I enjoyed this Hub, great work.

  • ib radmasters profile image

    ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

    The question comes to mind, does this skyscraper have free parking or do you take public transportation, or simply walk to it?

    Great article.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Yes, indeed, every now and then I gotta poke fun at myself and others similarly situated in order to keep the staleness at bay. Thank you so much for stopping by and participating in this Hub. I love the work that you're producing here on HP, and I wish you the very best for continued success. Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Hi, there! Thank you so much for stopping by! Yes, when I used to live in the Seattle area, I had umpteen million choices where to have my daily coffee...especially after my long graveyard shift at the bagel bakery. Some of my best blog posts came as a result of being super exhausted and wired on coffee. I think that's when I'm least inhibited. Anyway, glad you liked this piece. Thank you again, and continued best wishes and kudos regarding the great work you're producing here on HP.

  • profile image

    ignugent17 5 years ago

    Very intersting and it is very useful. Your offices are really sophisticated. Had a good time reading it. Thanks for sharing your hub. Voted up and more.

  • profile image

    WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

    Family Guy is so funny at hitting the nail on the head. These are some great, valid money-saving methods for writers, and it's a fun read. Voting up, funny, useful, and sharing

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Karen Hellier

    Hello, Karen, all the way over from one coast to the other! Thanks for reading my Hub and generously commenting.

    I want to congratulate you on taking this major leap of faith. Yes, there are nagging concerns, but you'll find in time that you are freed up to do so much more. Your creativity will blossom, and your writing will soar to new heights. When I wrote at the coffee shops in Seattle, more often than not, I had just worked a grueling graveyard shift standing all night long while I processed and baked tens of thousands of bagels...only to hear complaint after complaint from my boss the next morning. It was with the energy that emanates from frustration and anger that I would write some of my most memorable blog posts. On HP, it's different...fueled by the joy of being free from that graveyard shift lifestyle, I write as if I'm face to face with you at a Starbucks and enjoying the very best conversation about that Hub you just wrote or an idea that's been brewing in my head or wondering if Batman really survived that atomic blast or not. It's all about connection, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Karen. I had to take a vacation from our family's recent vacation, but tomorrow morning, I'll be at it once again with another Hub and the sheer joy that comes from having the freedom to share it with others. Good night!

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

    This is a wonderful hub that I enjoyed immensely. Whenever I have been in a Starbucks or a Panera Bread restaurant in the middle of the day, I have envied the people I see their working on their computers, and wished that somehow I could get a job that would allow me to do that. I have yet to write a hub in one of these places, but since I left my job in June and am writing daily each morning, I have been contemplating doing just that this summer. I love coffee too, and write every day with a cup next to me, so it would work well for me to head off to a Starbucks or Mcdonalds with free Wi Fi.. I am also a frugal Yankee from New England so saving money is like second nature to me. I loved your title because as your hub unfolded, it surprised me. Great read, and voted up and awesome.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Busy getting ready for a trip to the Oregon coast. Thank you so much for stopping by, Kris! When I'm settled in at the beach house or upon my return to Walla Walla, I definitely want to enjoy some of your fine writing. Got a chance to read your profile and check out the very interesting titles. I'm impressed with your credentials and talent. Best wishes for continued success here on HP and beyond!

  • Kris Heeter profile image

    Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

    Great hub! I also loved the added trivia in the comment from Pamela N Red about JK Rowling. I've heard that some great writers and CEOs feel they can often get the most done like this!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Nice to meet you, too, CloudExplorer! Thanks for stopping by and reading my Hub. I had occasion to read your interesting Hub about running 10+ miles total each day to and from work. Great inspiration there! 22 days shy of my 60th birthday, it's time to make a comeback. Aloha!

  • CloudExplorer profile image

    Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

    I truly enjoyed this hub here about your coffee experiences in that cool high riser, I don't like coffee much but it was still funny and entertaining to read.

    Cool hub here voted up and out, and nice to meet ya on hubpages, and once again great answer you provided there in the Q&A area.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Ha-ha! I hear you loud and clear on the coffee, Tony! In retrospect, I believe I left an island Eden because I suffered from the youthful Hawaiian syndrom at the time of "Geez, I've lived my entire life of 18 years on this rock (Kaua'i)...there's gotta be more to life than this!" I had never seen snow, and as silly as it sounds, that became another reason to venture off to the mainland. Wound up in an Odyssean journey which involved getting married, having children, establishing roots in the Pacific Northwest, etc. Ironically, the pineapple and sugar cane fields back home began disappearing as these agricultural staples shifted to other parts of the world. Now, there's coffee growing on the hillsides of Kaua'i, along with macadamia nuts and other crops. And, surprisingly, the coffee ain't bad! My family and I get to visit loved ones on Kaua'i every now and then. I kiddingly yet seriously set as one of my HubPages goals the idea of earning enough passive income someday to pay for trips to and from my "Jurassic Park" island.

  • Tony Flanigan profile image

    Tony Flanigan 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

    :) I drink coffee all the time! Just before running, just before sleeping,just before working, just before not working, just before waking up (I am blessed to have a semi-comatose state early morning in which I am able to perform certain basic functions required to sustain life as we know it - making coffee is one), I drink coffee all the time!

    Oh, copious amounts of Coke, and many cigarettes serve to round out my days too.

    Is the coffee in Hawaii that bad that you had to relocate? Personally I think I could put up with lousy coffee to be able to live in Hawaii.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Tony Flanigan Aloha! That's a cool picture of you with the shades pulled up over your brow. Thank you for reaching out from halfway around the world. I am looking forward to following you and your lady and learning a few good things. I hear you loud and clear about the mixed feelings regarding coffee shops. Personally, I like the taste of independent shops' coffee a lot better than Starbucks' brew...however, they do make a mean caramel frappucino. I think it's a blast that we live in a time when we can communicate almost instantly with each other even though we live on opposite sides of the globe. Okay, I'm rambling now...time for a cup of java to slow me down. Works like Ritalin on me. BTW, when you ran long distances, did you ever drink coffee before you ran?

  • Tony Flanigan profile image

    Tony Flanigan 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

    Coffee Shops are a mixed blessing. One of the main reasons Terry and I "coffee-shoppe" is to people watch, but, and herein lies the problem, I spend so much time whining about lousy coffee I never get to people watch. See, the problem is that I really like coffee, but sadly only the local Wimpy makes decent coffee! The other establishments don't know squat about coffee, and in this part of South Africa we don't have much variety to choose from :(

    I suppose it is an outing though - of sorts...

    btw, totally with you on your business model, makes sense! Vuui

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, rmcleve! As you probably already know, I answered your question about what I like most about HubPages. You've only served to reinforce my notion that the spirit of COMMUNITY (Hawaiians refer to it as OHANA, or this context, a global family)is truly what makes HubPages tick.

    I really love your writing style. Thank you for following me, and I will follow back because I do believe I can learn a lot from the things you share with your fellow Hubbers.

    You certainly helped get my busy day off to a great start!

    Aloha and mahalo!

  • profile image

    rmcleve 6 years ago

    Beautifully written! Maybe I should try a coffee shop sometime. I have written quite a few papers in them, but the higher grades always came from the bars or restaurants where I could have a beer or two...Don't worry! These days, all of my writing occurs on my amazingly comfortable couch with at least one of four lovely critters within a 3 foot radius at all times (often on top of some part of mine).

    I have a comfortable, well-organized desk and business station to simplify all of the work I do for my company, 3 blogs, 4 social networks, and HP articles (Plus ALL of the Googling!). For some reason, my living room is the preferred office for me. Maybe it's the coziness, like a lamplight Starbucks setting. The gourmet coffee we special order from Aroma in Santa Fe makes it even more luxurious at it IS the brand many places around Albuquerque serve!

    Whatever gets you there, gets you there. I'll take this hub as the initiative to try working outside of the house. Maybe it'll be good for me to see unfamiliar faces. Sorry for the story, but thank you for the great hub!

  • Author Cheryl profile image

    Cheryl A Whitsett 6 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

    I can feel you because my husband travels a lot so Im home except to go to work. Sometimes going out does inspire me to write something I normally wouldnt. But then sometimes people make me write things I shouldnt lol. Bet of luck to you too. I just need quiet when Im writing but it does make you feel kind of silly when you write something good and are sitting at your computer clapping all to yourself I guess that could be considered delusional :0

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Cheryl, thank you for reading my hub and sharing your thoughts. I can truly understand your position, and--yes!--there are times when I have to work at home. Therein lies my dilemma. As a full-time eBay seller, now branching into other online ventures, I get a bit stir-crazy being at home so much. The other thing that factors into the equation is that I could easily end up being a recluse. So I force myself at times to get out and mingle, even if it is by proxy, in a coffee shop environment. In my youth, I must've watched too many Star Trek episodes or read too many comic books...because now, it's like I feed off of other people's energy. That probably makes me...what? aura vampire? LOL!

    Best wishes to you, Cheryl, and continued success as a hubber!

  • Author Cheryl profile image

    Cheryl A Whitsett 6 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

    I find being in my own home alone is a much better working environment when no one is home and my coffee is better than starbucks and I pay nothing to work. I guess it depends on how others work but I work best when it is quiet and not so much happening in my eyesight. But that is why we are all unique because we work differently. Kudos to you if you can work in a busy place.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, wetnosedogs! There are days when I fondly think about my nomad wandering between my graveyard shift as a bagel baker in Redmond and my freelance writing in Seattle (and vicinity) coffee shops. Walla Walla's a great town, but I do miss the lifestyle diversity and metropolitan allure of the Emerald City. Glad to have had this opportunity to share with you and others.

    Until next time...

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I'm quite hopeful, Pamela! LOL! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing. You're quite the successful writer, and it shall be an honor for me to follow your hubs. Best wishes for continued longevity and an abundant following.


  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 6 years ago from Alabama

    What a great hub! I love this.

  • Pamela N Red profile image

    Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

    Great article and wonderful pictures.

    I like to go to coffee shops sometimes (I drink tea) but I can't seem to get any work done. I'm easily distracted and have better luck at home where I can have peace and quiet.

    J. K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books from a coffee shop so perhaps the next great novel is in your future.


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