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Writing in Public

This weekend, after much stalling, I finally took my laptop out on a date. After I first made the decision to do this (weeks ago), a few things happened to get in my way – one weekend I was really sore, another I was exhausted, and then finally last weekend I had to admit that actually, I was just nervous. Nervous about writing in public.

I’m well aware that no-one out there in the world at large really cares what I do with my time, and a girl with a laptop, drinking coffee in a cafe is nothing out of the ordinary. No-one would be giving me funny looks, and yet, in my head, it felt kind of weird to be out of the house and writing – I guess it goes back to that whole ‘reading over my shoulder’ feeling. Somehow, being in public made me feel vulnerable.

Anyway, once I realized that this was the case, I was determined to BUST that fear. Saturday presented me no opportunity, but Sunday was perfect. Unfortunately by the time I left the house and arrived in town I realized it was almost 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and a bunch of places just weren’t open. Or at least the places I had considered going. GAH!

So what did I do? I ended up in the McCafe section of McDonald’s… the coffee wasn’t good, but they have awesome sized tables and it wasn’t that busy. I learned some valuable things:

a) my battery has about 40 mins tops once I start it up. This is actually a good thing. I can write an awful lot in 40 minutes if I’ve got the incentive, and a dying battery is a great one.

b) it takes me a lot less time to dive right in that I ever imagined it would! I opened a second document initially and started typing to myself that this would all be okay and I could have five minutes to get my head straight, and by the time I had finished two sentences of self encouragement I flicked back to Sun-Touched and got to work.

c) this novel rocks. I really like Madea, and in two short scenes I have thrown a fair bit of crap at her. The third scene is going to be even worse. I can’t help but smile and think of all the wonderful conflict and challenges in her path. Won’t be long now before I plunge her towards madness. Excellent <said with Mr Burns in mind>.

I’m really looking forward to the next date with my laptop. I will have to plan in advance a little better, but if all else fails, at least I know I can write at McD’s!

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17 thoughts on “Writing in Public”

  1. I actually love writing out because I tend to get more done. It’s like my brain realizes that I’m out for a purpose, and so I can focus better. BUT…I can be a little crazy. Like, if I’m at a cafe and my table is right near the line and there are people standing behind me, I can’t concentrate because all I can think is, “THEY’RE READING MY SCREEN AND LAUGHING AT ME FOR ATTEMPTING TO WRITE!” and then I have to close the document until I don’t feel eyes on me anymore. I prefer corner spots 🙂 Anyway! So glad you went out to write, hopefully you can make it out more often! And also, I’m excited that you’re excited about your story 🙂

    1. Yes, I am all for corner spots! I managed to get quite tucked away the other day 🙂 I definitely felt that sense of purpose you mention, which was fantastic. I am really looking forward to doing it more often! Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving a comment 🙂

  2. You crack me up.

    You need to pay attention to when you get out. Your likelihood of being able to flirt with a man-boy barist is significantly lower at 4:00 PM on Sunday.

    Just say’n.

    1. lol yes, I will need to pay more attention! it’s proof that I simply don’t get out enough. I’ll be aiming for earlier in the day, I think, though will take the chance when I can. Certainly no cute man-boy’s working at McD’s, it never crossed my mind to flirt! I was far too busy thinking about writing 🙂

  3. Oh, I love writing in public. There is just something about it. I think JK Rowling was onto a good thing there.
    It’s the buzz of coffee shops, the innane and constant chatter of people bustling around you, the jazzy music that they play, and probably the delightful aromas. I also lurve writing on the train.

    Awesome that you finally managed to get out and about! Super duper cool 🙂 This is going to become an awesome weekly date for you!

  4. I haven’t ever written out in public and I know there will be plenty of amazing places to take my laptop out on a date in Manchester if I will make the time.

    I love that you started your session with that second document of self-encouragement. I might have to try that trick sometime. 🙂

    1. You should try it sometime 🙂 It’s fab!!!

      The other document works wonders, I do that even at home sometimes if I really need to – helps clear whatever might be blocking the writing. Hope it helps you, too!

  5. Good for you! And I smiled at you giving yourself a pep talk first. 🙂

    I’ve never written in public, because I have so much time at home to write. But now I’m wondering if I should. Maybe the change would spark all kinds of great words.

  6. It entirely depends on my mood as to if I can actually accomplish any writing if I am out at a cafe. More often then not I end up knitting/crocheting and people watching. Which is great when I need a little inspiration, but not so great for the word count.

    1. hehe, well, either way, being out is a good thing 😉 I can imagine that sometimes I won’t get as much writing done as others – you can never really predict what will happen at a cafe

  7. I LOVE writing in public. I really do. I plug in my earbuds and lose myself in the words and people watch during the breaks, because you never know when you might need a new character. I feel so much less inhibited writing in public, because for the most part, people don’t know me. When I’m at home, I always worry the kids will walk in when I’m writing a love scene or The Man will see an f-bomb over my shoulder and wonder why it’s there. I don’t have that in public. Even if people see that stuff, they don’t have context–they don’t know I’m a Good Church Girl ™, so there’s no baggage. 🙂

    I’m so glad you’re getting out and reconnecting with your characters–and yourself! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Amy! Me too 🙂 It’s been an amazing way to kick start myself properly into this novel.

      I had to giggle about your ‘baggage’! But it’s a totally valid point – they don’t know you from anyone else, so there are no expectations. Very freeing 🙂

  8. I love the change in scenery writing in public. Like you, I find that I’m more focused because I’m conscious of taking up a table in a busy cafe. Plus, the one time I left my laptop’s power cord at home, I ended up handwriting tons of pages for my WIP without the shiny lure of the internet tempting me to check email or “reasearch” something.

    1. Oh! Yes! Research! McD’s does have free wifi, but I couldn’t get it to work – I wanted to research something and found I couldn’t. I sat there for a minute then decided I could just fake it until I got home and could look it up 🙂 It was really nice not having the net! Using that chews through my power faster anyway, I am sure, so that’s another good reason not to get it working while out 😉 I’m so pleased that everyone seems to have had such positive experiences of writing out. And pleased to have joined the ranks of cafe going writers 😉

  9. I write out of the house 90% of the time. AT home there’s too much action, and the kids don’t know how to bugger off! lol If I’m in a small place, I’ll feel bad taking up a table for too long, so I try to avoid those, but otherwise being out of the house and knowing I’m going to work, mostly from the moment I sit until it’s to go it’s all work.

    so much fun for you to be doing this and glad it went well!

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