Monday, September 5, 2011

Café culture

Welcome back, blog friends!

As you've probably gathered, the writing's been intense lately. Some days I hate Project Demo. Some days I feel better, think it might work, might even be good. Some days I feel all of the above.

But I've missed being here. So in between the agony of finishing Project Demo, I figured I'd start up discussion again, and share what I've been up to lately (besides, you know, the writing).

So let me tell you about my newest discovery: a lovely, neighborhood café.

I've never been a café writer before. I'm a homebody. I get easily distracted, prefer absolute silence.

But lately even my quiet home has been distracting. I've become obsessive about laundry. I've even started to enjoy vacuuming. One day I found myself rearranging my bookshelf. And that's with the internet turned off! I realized I needed to get out of the house.

I ended up at a café down the street from me. Close, with delicious drinks, no internet access, and independently run. How could I have never been there before? Even better, the owner is friendly, chatty, and has started quizzing me about my daily writing goals (accountability!).

It's worked a charm for the writing. No mess to look at, no responsibilities except writing, and I look like an idiot if I stare off into space too long. The café's big enough that if I sit in the back, I can usually tune out conversations. Plus, sometimes the people watching is a nice break. I don't get much interaction in my daily life.

The only thing that's been difficult is the music. Easy listening. Bette Midler, Backstreet Boys, James Blunt. I'm not a music snob, I mostly enjoy it. And it's kind of sweet on a quiet morning when the owner sings along. But hearing every lyric, familiar and clear, makes writing new words hard.

So I try to snag my favorite table whenever possible. It's large, in the back, away from the chilly fans and the speakers.

I don't know how long this café culture will last. I don't know if I'll be able to draft a new novel there. But for the moment, it's working well.

Where do you write? What works best for you?


  1. I write on my living room couch. My daughter is napping and my husband's at work so I get peace and quiet. I've never tried writing in public. Well, other than jotting ideas into a notebook I carry around with me everywhere I go.

  2. Anne, I'm glad you're back! I had a cafe I used to go to and loved it. It was small so the soft chatter became white noise and the music was very low so it didn't interfere. Unfortunately, they knocked down the building (to put up condos) so that was the end of my cafe. The others around here are way too noisy--screechingly loud.

  3. Kelly: Ah, you're one of those writers who has to sneak writing time in between naps! Makes my routine seem much more calm!

    Andrea: Aw, thanks, Andrea! It's so nice to be back! Thanks for stopping by!

    Oh, what a catastrophe losing your writing cafe! Sounds like you've searched pretty hard for a new one, too. Well, if you're ever in the area, you're welcome to stop by mine. ;)

  4. My usual place to write is in my office in my house.

    My favorite outside place to write was Borders. :( But now I've found a nice place not too far from my house.

    Wow, I can't write in silence, I need some type of background noise. Ha.

  5. Karen: Do you only do writing in your office, or other things, too? One of my writing friends was recently tempting me with a "writing only" desk. I use the dining room table.

    Anyway, glad to hear you've found some place else to work! So hard to lose a spot!

    Hah! I must be more easily distracted than you... =)

  6. Welcome back,Anne!!!! I've been wondering about you.

    Your cafe culture sounds wonderful, and I'm glad you are getting your writing done there. I know lots of writers who do work in coffee shops. How???? I can't figure it out. I get annoyed when my children are talking in the next room. (Aren't I awful? I'm getting waaay too comfortable with you. LOL.)

    When I am playing taxi cab with the girls, I'll even work in the car with the windows down rather than hang out at an air-conditioned coffee shop because I just can't work around other people.

    Happy dance that you're here. . . :)

  7. Aw, what a lovely, welcoming comment, Bridgette. Thanks! Feel free to get comfortable! ;)

    hehehe. I'm usually that way about my work, too, so I've been surprised at how well the cafe's worked. I think between the sounds of the servers, the radio, and the conversations, everything blends into background noise. Unless someone's having a really good conversation! ;) Might be worth giving it a try, just in case it might work for you. But then again, you know better than me what you can and can't do!

  8. Anywhere I can: the office before everyone else arrives, in my bed (I have don't have room for a desk in my shared house), the train. I'm always on the lookout for that magical distraction free solution, and the office before it opens is my best. The downside is the fact that it's next to impossible to get up early enough in the morning :(

  9. Katerina: Well, you're in good company! Apparently Meg Cabot works in bed, too. ;) When I was working at the University, I got some good writing done in my office during lunch when everyone left. Funny how just a few quiet minutes can be so productive!


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