I’ve explored this subject before, last year when I was living in Hawaii and experienced a series of regular power outages in my neighborhood. I have a laptop, so it wasn’t the electricity by itself that sent me to Starbucks. It was coffee (can’t brew without electricity) and the laptop battery (uh, don’t mention the Alphasmart — I know, I know). I’d always thought writing in Starbucks would be difficult. The music, the customers, the movement all around me.
It wasn’t difficult at all. Pop the headphones in to listen to my own choice of music, sip the macchiato, fire up the laptop, and type. Worked just fine, especially when I couldn’t check my email or blog.
So fast forward a year. I’m living in Alabama and I have a gigantic room all to myself. Bookshelves, internet, desk, daybed. A view. Lots of peace and quiet. And I’m seriously considering packing up and heading to a coffee shop.
My hubby looked at me like I was a nut when I mentioned this the other day. I’m no longer sitting on the couch with laptop and writing, like in Hawaii. I have an office to myself. (I had an office in Hawaii, but it had frosted jalousie windows and I hated that I couldn’t see. Felt like I was in a shower all day, so I moved to the LR.)
And I DO feel nuts for considering it. This room is what I wanted! It’s all mine, ready to go, perfect for long sessions at the computer. But, you see, there’s laundry downstairs. And there’s a junk room where everything we unpacked but didn’t know where to put just yet is still waiting for me to sort through. And there are two needy cats who regularly interrupt me with meowing, loud and frightening noises (did they break the lamp? Oh heck, must go see!), and begging.
So, I end up thinking it would just be easier to remove those distractions. Best way to do that is to not be in the house. There was a discussion on one of my loops the other day about this issue. Some folks write in their jammies all day long. Others have day jobs and write when they can — before or after work, while on the subway, etc. And some get dressed and go to a cafe.
Hemingway wrote in cafes, but not just there. He actually rented an apartment (when he could afford it) to use strictly as an office, getting up, getting dressed, leaving his wife and child in their shared apartment in Paris and going to his office apt.
(Okay, just NOW, there was a loud noise from downstairs. Cat knocked over a picture that hasn’t been hung yet, but didn’t break the glass — he has broken the glass on another picture before this one. So, have to run downstairs, determine noise, pick things up, lock cat up. Meanwhile other cat shows up and tries to get into my coffee which is sitting on the desk. This is why Hemingway rented a separate apartment.)
While I consider packing up and heading out, I feel guilty about it. But I also think it may be necessary, at least from time to time, in order to clear out the cobwebs and get something moving. And now I’m asking you, where do you write? Do you find a quiet corner of the house, have a great big office, hunch in a closet, write on a train, or head for the nearest cafe?
Let me know, because I’m very interested in how this works for you and if you’d do something differently if you could.