THIS COPYWRITER BUILT HIS
OWN WRITING SHED
It's important for a creative to have a space that's actually conducive with being creative. Sometimes this can just mean a big desktop, some framed inspiration, and an ergonomic chair. But WNW Member and copywriter Brock Kirby decided to go about a thousand steps further, well beyond adding a new bookshelf or some air-purifying plants: he built his own writing shed.
Brock tell us the whole process took about a year. He had been considering going freelance for a while, and the writing shed was a big part of that dream. Now he freelances, from his backyard. In our interview below, Brock admits that he got a big boost from his father-in-law. "He’s a master builder; that’s not just hyperbole, that’s his official title. He’s incredible at what he does and basically built the entire thing. I held the other end of the measuring tape and made runs to the hardware store, but without him I’m sitting in a prefab. He’s a saint."
Obviously, not everyone has the space or energy or father-in-law to construct their own creative shed. But Brock has some priceless advice that should help everyone up their creative levels. "Have a designated drawer for your phone and keep it in there most of the day. Other than that, just have fun and wear sweat suits."
Tell us a little bit about your background. Who is Brock Kirby and how did he get here?
I’m an Oregon boy. I graduated from the University of Oregon and went out to JWT New York for a couple years, but Portland was calling me back. I landed in a pretty sweet situation at Wieden+Kennedy and learned from the best in that beautiful building. And now, freelance, in my backyard.
What was the impetus behind building a writing shed?
I had been considering freelance for awhile and the shed was part of that dream. I love my 1-year-old and 4-year-old kids very much, but I knew I’d need a quiet space away from the Thunderdome that is my house.
I looked at a ton of pre-fab units, but realized my father-in-law and I could probably do it better and cheaper.
What element of the finished product are you proudest of?
The cedar ceiling. In the process of building it we decided to extend it to the eaves out front. I love that it brings the outside and the inside together.
What was the biggest challenge in making this creative retreat a reality? How long did it take?
The whole process took about a year. We poured concrete summer 2015, started framing in Spring 2016 and finished the whole thing by end of Summer 2016. We did the majority of the work on weekends and evenings, so just finding the time was the biggest hurdle.
Have you considered a career in architecture and carpentry?
I took some college level engineering classes in high school and worked as a general laborer during the summer for my father-in-law. He’s the one with the skills. He’s a master builder; that’s not just hyperbole, that’s his official title. He’s incredible at what he does and basically built the entire thing. I held the other end of the measuring tape and made runs to the hardware store, but without him I’m sitting in a prefab. He’s a saint.
What are the essentials for your personal creative feng shui?
Books and a couple comfortable chairs. I’ve left some space on the shelves and walls to remind myself that I still have lots of time to fill it with cool stuff.
Have you come up with a set of rules that you must abide by while in your creative retreat?
3. No fantasy football.
Everyone works best under their own set of circumstances. But what are some tips you can offer to creative to make their creative spaces conducive to being just that?
Have a designated drawer for your phone and keep it in there most of the day. Other than that, just have fun and wear sweat suits.
What projects have you been working on in your new digs?
Agency work, short films, the shed itself. Now that I have this big personal project out of the way I can move on to the more cliché ones, novels and pilots and such.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Seriously, get yourself a really comfortable sweat suit or five. At any moment you’re ready to write long copy, do calisthenics or sprint after the godforsaken cat that keeps digging in my fall vegetables.