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Coffee shop writing?

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Pushingfordream

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Does anyone actual write in coffee shops? What are the pros/cons of coffee shop writing in your opinion? I usually write on a coach in a quiet area. Or early in the morning before other awake. I want to try writing in a local coffee shop this weekend thats why I ask.
 

Nekko

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I did for a while, but I usually brought along headphones and listened to music, not the coffee shop chatter. It is harder to get distracted (at least for long) or procrastinate. At home I'll go do laundry, unload the dishwasher, whatever. At the coffee shop my 'time sucks' are limited to trips to the bathroom and coffee refills.

You do get to do people watching, which is always good for character development!

I live 30 mins from the nearest coffee place, and now that my kids are out of the house I make fewer trips to town, so I don't have time voids to fill while waiting to go pick them up.
 

Snowstorm

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I like writing in coffee shops (although I do so rarely). The atmosphere is vibrant, and that energy helps me. My mind really zings in a coffee shop! And then somebody has to bring in some noisy kid ...
 

Sochitelya

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I hate writing in public because I'm paranoid that someone's going to be reading over my shoulder. But I have an anxiety disorder, so take that with a grain of salt. Crowds make me nervous to begin with. I've heard that it's a good way to write without as many distractions as at home, plus the change of scenery can be good for your brain.
 

Maryn

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I can't write in a coffee shop. I end up rubbernecking, overeating, drinking way too much joe, eavesdropping, and doing everything but writing.

However, we had this discussion on a genre-specific board I frequent, and I was surprised how many of the published regulars do most of their writing in coffee shops and similar public spaces.

Maryn, who can't even sit where there's a window to look out of, or she won't write
 

benbenberi

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I like writing in coffee shops because I live alone & sometimes I like to be around other people for a change. (Also I don't have an espresso machine at home, and I like a good latte from time to time.) I bring my own music & headphones in case I don't want to listen to whatever they're playing at the shop.
 

Kerosene

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I can't really write away from my desktop. It's the ambiance, with both my monitors, my headphones, my keyboard, my chair. Writing elsewhere just doesn't feel right.
 

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There's a coffee shop close to where DH and I work in the next town over. There have been a few times when he has to work at 11 but I'm not scheduled until 1. I'll wake up and get ready with him, then write at the coffee shop for the hour or two that I have before my shift starts.

I was surprised by how much it helped me stay focused. The music and customers are just white noise once I get into the groove, and it's a small enough town that it's never been crowded, so finding a private corner is easy. Once I have my own car I think I'd like to make it a more frequent pre-work thing.
 

LJD

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Yup. Nearly every day for 1-1.5 hrs.

I do it because:

1) I work better if I switch up my location every so often
2) 15-20 min walk one way, which forces me out of the apartment
3) Usually background noise helps me concentrate
4) No distractions (note: I do not write on a computer).
5) People watching. (The one coffee shop I go to is especially good if you want to listen to teens. Just go after the high school lets out for the day...)

The main problem: Really irritating customers (not most, but there are a few), sometimes screaming children. Occasionally I use earphones, but I prefer not to.


A few people have asked me what I'm doing--mainly other regular customers. My writing is nearly illegible, so I don't worry that other people can read it.
 

Chris P

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I can't write in a coffee shop. I end up rubbernecking, overeating, drinking way too much joe, eavesdropping, and doing everything but writing.

But that's what makes coffee shops such WONDERFUL places to write. Pick out someone sitting at another table. Don't stare and be creepy, but how old is she? Where do you think she was just before coming here? At work? At school? Or is she going to work right after this? Is she waiting to meet someone? Do you think she has an accent of some sort? Did she grow up here? Or is she from somewhere else? What do you think her biggest secret is about herself? What do you think the biggest secret she knows about someone else is?

And most, most importantly: what do you think she would say or do if she walked into the scene you are writing at this very moment?
 

quicklime

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you can write wherever you can write....and some folks can write very well in coffee shops.

That said, if I had to wager I would bet a very large majority of those writing in coffee shops either do so because they are convinced that's what being a writer IS (they probably also make sure to be angsty and purple in their writing, and dress however they assume a writer does...hipster, perhaps) or because they are trying to make very certain others are around to actually see them writing. Again, not to slam the folks who do write well in them, only a suspicion that a lot of the folks working there are less worried about the work than being seen.

Clearly neither of the two options above is in your best interest, so if you write well in public, do so, but if you don't, well, there are lots of places to write besides coffee shops. Personally, I gawk too much.
 

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I used to write at a Borders Books and Music before they went out of business. I knew people who worked at the cafe there, so it felt really comfortable to me. Now, if I write outside of home, it's either at a Starbucks near where my BF lives (he also writes) where they also serve beer and wine after a certain time of day, or at a Barnes and Noble, but I don't like that as much because it's in a really snooty part of town and people seem to just let their tweens rampage around there and the movie theater. Other than the tweens, there are usually tons of college students doing study groups and they can get loud.

So, long story short...if it's a weekday, I'm usually writing at home. If it's the weekend, usually at the Starbucks or Barnes and Noble.
 

IAMWRITER

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Nope. I can't write in any place in which there are people about. I hate the feeling that someone could be looking over my shoulder and possibly reading what I'm writing.

Plus, I'm nosy and like to listen to other people's conversations.
 

Pushingfordream

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I think I'm going to try it. On arrival I will have word-count and or write to a certain event goal. I will post how it works, I got to research a non-busy coffee shop near me though.
I will bring headphones, computer, notebook and pencils
 

mccardey

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I'm with the Sauger. But that's just me -- well, and him...
 

jeffo20

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About two years ago, my daughter was taking a class two nights a week at a local college. She didn't have driver's license, and it was too far for me to drop her off, come home, cool my heels for half an hour, then drive back out, so I took my notebook and pens and went to a coffee shop near the campus for an hour or so. I found the change of venue refreshing, was not bothered by the hubbub, and often got some quality writing done. If you can concentrate on writing, there's no reason why you couldn't write in a coffee shop. Or anywhere, for that matter.
 

Scribhneoir

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I don't write in coffee shops because I hate coffee -- even the smell is foul -- so I guess I'm saved from being considered a poseur. I write in fast food joints, most often the Taco Bell down the street from me. They've renovated it into a hangout with comfy seating and numerous plugs, so it's the perfect writing spot for me.

Like others have mentioned, there's enough noise and activity to be both stimulating and concentration-inducing for me. The staff knows me and they tend to apologize if my favorite table is taken when I arrive. The manager has asked to be made a character, so the next time I need a walk-on, he'll be named Brandon.
 

mccardey

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Like others have mentioned, there's enough noise and activity to be both stimulating and concentration-inducing for me. .
Yes, I know an extremely successful and very talented multi-published author who would say exactly that. It doesn't work for me, but clearly it does for some.
 

Roxxsmom

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I don't write in coffee shops or other public places. It takes me a little while to get into a creative groove, and I'd just find it too distracting. Why write in coffee shops when I have a perfectly good desk and computer at home with access to my own coffee maker and a reliable internet connection (for when I need to look up the symptoms of an interesting disease or the way a crossbow works or something). Also, I don't lug a laptop around with me, as a rule. I do have a note pad in my purse or briefcase, so I have occasionally jotted something down when I get an idea.

I suppose the main advantage of writing in public places would be the people watching angle. If you're trying to describe a mannerism or facial expression, sometimes random strangers can provide inspiration.

I can see the acknowledgement now: And a special thanks to the unknown lady who found a bug in her salad at Starbucks. You helped be get past the block I have about describing disgusted expressions.
 

Scribhneoir

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Yes, I know an extremely successful and very talented multi-published author who would say exactly that. It doesn't work for me, but clearly it does for some.

I have a friend who couldn't imagine writing in a public place, so when she came for a visit last year I took her to Taco Bell to show her what it's like. She was amazed at how much work she got done while we were there. At home she still writes in the peace and quiet of her office, mostly because there's no place within walking distance of her house. But when she came for another visit last month, she said, "Let's go write at Taco Bell!"
 

electroweakstar

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I love writing at the local coffee shop. I also blast my own music through my headphones, but the white noise of other people around + people watching + the caffeination + having a scheduled time that I can only be there 'til (as I don't always bring my charger, sometimes on purpose!) really motivates me.

If I had a desk with a window with a nice treeline view at home, I'd probably also find a way to relish writing there but my apartment is small and there's really no "inspiring" spot to work in. Plus I get distracted with the cat/knitting/cooking/laundry, etc. Being "out" forces my brain to let go of the chores and my other hobbies and focus just on my work.
 

itsmary

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Well, I'm sitting in Starbucks right now. :D I'm not writing, but I spend most of my days off from work at coffee shops, either writing or reading. The coffee is kind of a mood booster (and a great dessert, so I usually go after lunch). Plus I like the atmosphere; I'm not totally isolated, but it's still relatively quiet.
 

DanielaTorre

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How can you guys write in public places? I for one spend hours staring at my screen without typing a word. It be awkward to stare at a blank screen in public.
 
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