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Coffee shop writing?

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WriterBN

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I've written at coffee shops, but prefer the library. My local library actually has a coffee vending machine, so I'm good either way :)
 

Dorky

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I just write at home. Writing in public tends to make me anxious and paranoid. I always feel like people are going to glance at my screen and silently laugh to themselves while going, "Look at this loon! What terrible writing!"

:D
 

Pushingfordream

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Ok my goal is to write at-least 1,000 words tomorrow in the coffee shop, If I like the atmosphere I will continue, if not I will go home..
 

Becky Black

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Yep, I can do it. I write in my local Starbucks, or in the coffee shop at work at lunchtimes. I can tune out the racket and bustling and concentrate on the writing. Why would I do it? Well the work one gets me an extra 45mins-1 hour of writing time I wouldn't have had. And the local Starbucks gets me out of the house and the many many distractions therein. (They won't let you to the dishes or those other suddenly horribly urgent jobs you find to do at home, in the coffee shop.) Of course the coffee shops have wi-fi, so I must leave that turned off until I'm done writing and can allow myself a bit of surfing.
 

bearilou

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I used to write in a coffee shop when I lived closer to one. Some of my most productive writing sessions. At least, until I started getting self-conscious that people would just assume I'm a poseur for writing in a coffee shop. :/

I regret not continuing because now I live half an hour away from one and really can't afford the gas into town regularly.

One of the things that prevented me from distractions about being out is not to take a power cord for my laptop. That way I was forced to stay off the internet there (huge drain on the battery) and just focus on writing. Sitting and staring at the screen was not an option because that was precious battery power being used.

As for people staring over my shoulder (which never happened), I was fully prepared to launch into full pornographic mode and write the raunchiest sex scene I could possibly come up with. They'd either be intrigued or glance away, embarrassed. I would have banked on embarrassed and it would have neatly solved the issue. :D Never had the chance to put that in action.

(Much as I love the current place, I do miss my old stomping ground, which was a hole-in-the-wall cafe where I could get a chicken salad sandwich, a bottomless cup of a coffee, and a dill pickle to make strong men weep. Alas, they closed, and now I must forage for lunch on my own.)

*mourns with you*
 

mccardey

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Ok my goal is to write at-least 1,000 words tomorrow in the coffee shop, If I like the atmosphere I will continue, if not I will go home..

Let me know how it goes (although, I think just one attempt might be unfair. It might take a couple of tries to get used to the change of scene...)

I won't be trying it (I have a lovely office at home, thank you writing-gods) but I'd be interested to know how it works for you.
 

J.S.F.

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I teach English for a living, and the majority of my lessons are held in coffee shops. I don't bring my computer with me, but I carry a notebook wherever I go and between classes I jot down notes or what's been working/not working for me in my novels...I usually end up writing more than I commit to the computer, but it's good exercise for my mind and it's always nice to drink coffee and relax.
 

Krystal Heart

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I write at home and in the regional library. In the library, the atmosphere is much quieter and I am able to concentrate more rather than being distracted by people's constant chit chats. When someone's doing something around me, and I am writing, I get distracted, so I have to lock myself in my room essentially. It's funny because I can listen to music or even watch TV while writing, but I can't be around people constantly talking and doing other things, because they're talking about real life. I am writing and all of a sudden I hear,


"Hey, did you hear what (name of family member) say to me this morning?"

Other person, "Yeah, she was a real bitch..."


So I can hear other characters, you know, Days of Our Lives, Arrow, The Client List, etc...talking about their problems and it doesn't affect me, but my family? I just can't do it. And at a coffee shop? I constantly get out and get my coffee as it is, like 2 or 3 times in a row. Some folks can pull it off really well, but I can't.
 

u.v.ray

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Bars, coffee shops, hotels, train stations and trains.

I write on the move, often documenting my immediate surroundings. Though I don't haul a laptop around with me. I carry a Moleskine notebook everywhere. And my Cross fountain pen.
 

Putputt

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I've trained myself to pretty much write anywhere I can sit down and get my paws on a keyboard or a pen and paper. But I do have a special place in my heart for coffee shops.

I like that it forces me out of the house, because otherwise I'd just be a sad, unwashed sack in sauce-spattered PJs. I like that in many coffee shops, you need a password to access Wifi, so all I have to do to stop dicking around online is not ask for the password. Instant discipline! And they make better drinks than I can at home.

I do find it harder to concentrate when there's loud music playing though, so I always bring a pair of ear plugs when I write at a cafe. It doesn't completely block out the noise, but it muffles it enough such that I can lose myself writing.

But I'm a big fan of training yourself to write anywhere. It's too easy to get into the mindset that you have to be in a certain place to be able to write, and for me, this is just a step towards making up excuses to procrastinate.
 

BethS

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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.

I do it on occasion when staying at home to write isn't working for me.

If there's a soothing hum of background noise and I'm sitting where no one can see over my shoulder, I can be very productive.

But if nearby conversations are loud enough that I can't shut them out even by wearing headphones (ditto with "background music" played over the cafe speakers), then I won't be able to concentrate.
 

tlotson

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I think I could write in a coffee shop, but I'd need headphones to zone everything else out. Could I edit in a coffee shop? No chance.
 

BethS

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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?

But, but...if I'm thinking about her, I'm not immersed in my story and I'm not getting any writing done. This would be totally counter-productive to me. :)

The most productive place for me to write is somewhere where I am alone and cannot access the internet.

Which is why I sometimes write in a public place--to keep me off the internet.

I used to write in a coffee shop when I lived closer to one. Some of my most productive writing sessions. At least, until I started getting self-conscious that people would just assume I'm a poseur for writing in a coffee shop. :/

This notion, which has been expressed several times in this thread, is odd to me. When I write in public, whether it's Starbucks or Panera Bread, there are usually several other people there with laptops. I doubt anyone looks at them and thinks they're all writers trying to look writerly.
 

Pushingfordream

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UPDATE!
Well i have been in the coffee shop, ignoring internet :), and now i'm 59,000 words!
I'm taking break, then tomarrow I will wake up and return to the coffee shop at 5:30 am! :) I really like it...
Note my writing is not good here, becuase I'm vomiting up the last scene of my book, but I will shape it with a rewrite I just got to get it out of me first.
 

Jamesaritchie

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I prefer bars to coffee shops, but I can write anywhere, and in good weather, almost never write in my office. Out in the woods, in the park, in a coffee shop, in a bar, or at the library. All are great places.

I prefer redneck bars to coffee shops. They're quiet until the evening crowd comes in, there no way to connect to the Internet, I can get a beer and a burger for about what a cup of coffee costs at Starbucks, and I can fold my tent and join a game of pool when my work is done.
 

bearilou

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UPDATE!
Well i have been in the coffee shop, ignoring internet :), and now i'm 59,000 words!
I'm taking break, then tomarrow I will wake up and return to the coffee shop at 5:30 am! :) I really like it...
Note my writing is not good here, becuase I'm vomiting up the last scene of my book, but I will shape it with a rewrite I just got to get it out of me first.

:hooray::yessmiley
 

Scribhneoir

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UPDATE!
Well i have been in the coffee shop, ignoring internet :), and now i'm 59,000 words!
I'm taking break, then tomarrow I will wake up and return to the coffee shop at 5:30 am! :) I really like it...

Glad it's working for you. :Clap: Have fun tomorrow.
 

Dorky

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As for people staring over my shoulder (which never happened), I was fully prepared to launch into full pornographic mode and write the raunchiest sex scene I could possibly come up with. They'd either be intrigued or glance away, embarrassed. I would have banked on embarrassed and it would have neatly solved the issue. :D Never had the chance to put that in action.

This sounds hilarious :D But what if the person hadn't been embarrassed and instead tried to keep reading? :D

Pushingfordream: Nice! I hope it continues to work out for you. :)
 
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third person

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I do so because it allows me to be away from any possibility to be lazy. Like laying down to "think about things" or constantly checking things on the internet. I have concentration issues, so when I go to a coffee shop to write I'm there for a specific reason and it's much easier to keep focused.

I admit I used to have a fear of nosy people leaning over to read my stuff too. At one point I considered buying one of those 3M screen guards that makes your screen completely black when viewed from any angle except dead-on. Then my writing got better and I didn't care so much, hehe.

I'm in Manhattan and you'd think the biggest risk would be theft when you're coffee shop writing. Not so much, at least when you keep to a location where the regulars keep an eye on each others' stuff. You watch theirs and they watch yours. For that reason I stick to the Astor Place Starbucks (say hi sometime if you're there, you can't miss the gigantic black dude typing at 200wpm behind his laptop) ...and no not just because the Curtis Brown agency is right across the street. That would be stalky. Stalky bad.

The biggest con, of course, is having to PEE so damned much. Coffee being a diuretic will go that to ya. And maaaaaaaan I never seem to learn the lesson, what with my venti-sized cup of "haha you know this needs to come out at one point right". And now we've ventured into the land of TMI. Be sure to purchase a souvenir on your way out :)
 

electroweakstar

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The biggest con, of course, is having to PEE so damned much. Coffee being a diuretic will go that to ya. And maaaaaaaan I never seem to learn the lesson, what with my venti-sized cup of "haha you know this needs to come out at one point right". And now we've ventured into the land of TMI. Be sure to purchase a souvenir on your way out

YESSSS. This is why I go on short writing stints (lunch breaks) or do writing "dates" with my partner. Then we can watch each other's stuff while the other one waits in the endless bathroom line at the local Caribou Coffee. ;-)
 

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My friend and I meet every Friday at a downtown coffee shop to write. I find writing in coffee shops to be more of a distraction than anything else. But the days when I get a page or two down, I am happy. :)
 

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Interesting to read everyone's perspectives!

I like writing in coffee shops, though I don't do it tons. I like a bit of background noise, though once I'm in the zone I don't even notice it. Sometimes I get distracted by people-watching and eavesdropping but I like that too. I like being somewhere different and I like having a good coffee to sip (and my espresso machine died). Everyone has laptops at coffee shops, so to me it doesn't seem poser-ish at all. (Now, bringing along a typewriter, maybe...). In fact, the few times sometone's commented on what I'm doing typing on my computer (in general, I don't think it's ever happened at a coffee shop) they ask if I'm doing schoolwork because why else would I have Microsoft Word open? haha.
 
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