A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Writing in public, especially places like coffee houses, has an interesting reputation.

J.K. Rowling wrote at least part of the Harry Potter series in various coffee houses.  John Scalzi thinks it’s an attempt to get laid.  (I have never once gotten a proposition while writing in public and want to know where in hell he’s going, cause I could do with… Well, nevermind).

Me?  I like writing in bars, pubs and coffee houses.  Oh sure, if I’m working on an emotionally difficult scene, or if I  need scads of research on a topic, I’m more likely to be found in my writin’ chair that a former partner insisted we buy when shopping for living room furniture.  (I’m still grateful he overrode my inner Scrooge.  I’m sitting here in it now, and I spend a lot of time blissfully working from it).

So what is it that drives the introvert out in public to write?

For me, it’s a change of scene, and a lack of a wireless connection.  I write on a Palm Pilot with one of those little foldable keyboards.  No net surfing — just basic word processing.  If I have research to do, I do it before I go out to write and store it in a file on my Palm (I’m really fond of Quickword, by the way, and highly recommend it).   I live about 1/4 mile from a pub, and just the act of walking to there will often be enough to get the creative juices flowing.  I get ideas best moving forward.  Even as a little kid, I’d get my best ideas for stories riding my bike.

Sure, like everyone else, I wanna be a richnfameous writer.  Then I take a sip of wine while I’m working, look out the window and realize that while Jo Rowling and Neil Gaiman have made it, and that’s really cool, I’m doing something they can’t.  (Not sour grapes.  I’d rather have extraordinary professional success!  But hey, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the little things, too).

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