Writing Away From Home

John Scalzi says that you’re not fooling anyone when you take your laptop to a coffee shop, and insofar as taking your laptop to a coffee-shop to write in order to get laid is a fool’s endeavour, he’s not wrong. (I do recommend the book –  it’s fun, informative, and a steal at $6)

But coffee shops aren’t a bad place to write, all the same. My NaNoWriMo group meets throughout the year at the Milton Coffee Club, where they are extremely nice to us and let us take up half the back area and all the powerpoints for most of November and sit there for eight hours taking up tables and making noise. They even donate prizes for our November competitions, which is just lovely of them. But even if you don’t have a close personal relationship with the staff, a coffee-shop can be a good place to write. They often have power-points, they supply caffeine and meals, and if you scout around a bit for a place with comfy seats, you’re good to go.

I personally like writing in the library, though I can’t do that as often now that I have a small child. But I used to go there a lot – again, they have free power, air-conditioning, comfy seats, and reference books galore. You can’t get coffee there, but it’s still pretty nice.

Writing on the train is another favourite. I used to get a lot of work done on the train going to and from work, when I was working. It’s a pre-blocked period of time in which your range of available activities is pretty limited, so if you do get public transport to work – especially if you travel in off-peak times when trains and buses aren’t so crowded – it can be a great time to churn out some words with few interruptions.

Parks can be nice, if weather permits, but the seating isn’t as comfortable, there’s more bugs, there’s no power, and nobody is going to bring you a vanilla latte. You can bring your own, of course.

Where do you write, if not at home?

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5 thoughts on “Writing Away From Home

    • I had a job that allowed that, for a while – I was Knows How To Work The Computer Girl, aka admin support, at a fire station. Some days were super busy, other days I finished all my work by 9:30 am and had to amuse myself until something happened. Best. Job. Ever.

    • I used to get car-sick, but it seems to have mostly gone away as I got older – possibly I managed to desensitize myself by years of determinedly reading in the car until I threw up. Typing works best for me, though, as I can touch-type and thus look up from the screen without stopping. Regular looks out the window help a lot.

  1. I write on the train during my commute to/from work. This is the best writing time for me: headphones on to drown out everything around me, and I can focus just fine.

    I also had to beat travel sickness to do it, but I find that it’s much easier on the train compared to a bus. (In cars I’m usually driving or talking to people, so haven’t tried to write there!)

    The write-ins at our pet Coffee Club also work well for me, though again, I get best results when I put headphones in and zone out.

    The place that I find hardest to write in is at home. That’s where I have all the things I use to relax: TV, XBox, computer with games on… The only way I can successfully write in the house these days is if I shut myself away in the bedroom, or possibly go out on the deck. Though the deck is sometimes too close to those relaxing things, too….

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