Thursday, May 27, 2021

Writing in Public vs. At Home


A long time ago, when Borders was still in existence, I used to spend a lot of time there writing. I wasn't one of those people that needed to be seen writing in order to feel like a writer, but I enjoyed the atmosphere. Something about a book store café just inspired me to get more work done. It let me focus on what I was doing rather than distract myself at home with chores. I also had access to resources in case I needed to do some research. Plus, I had an endless supply of baked good and coffee at the café. When it was taken over by BAM, I went back a few times, but gradually phased out of it. The atmosphere had gone from cozy, quiet study area, to a platform for loud obnoxious political conversation nearly every time I went. I just couldn't focus anymore, so I went back to writing at home. 

One thing that always struck me odd about my time at Borders, was how often people would come up to me and ask what I was writing about, or otherwise wanted to strike up a conversation. I didn't mind it so much at first, but it would break my concentration and then I'd usually end up leaving after a few minutes. I had to think to myself, what is it about seeing someone working on a laptop that makes people want to talk to you?

I once had a gentleman come up to me while I was deeply ingrained in what I was writing and say "Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you, but I just had to say you have the most INTENSE look on your face! You must be really focused on what you're writing! What are you writing about?"

I didn't want to be rude, but he completely derailed my train of thought and I just sort of murmured "a book", before he mercifully let me go. I couldn't get back into it after that interaction, so I left. This was the downside to writing somewhere public. 

Now, with Covid restrictions in effect, I've found myself working from home more often. Yes, I've procrastinated by creating tasks to do around the house instead, but when I have a day to myself, and all is quiet, I've gradually gotten my spark back. I've been able to get work done without the need for an outside space to get the juices flowing. Plus, there is the added perk of not having anyone interrupt me...unless you count my parrot squawking, which can be just like listening to loud political talk sometimes.

In the beginning of my writing career, a lot of my books were written in a public place. The entire 'Book of Siavon' series was conceived and delivered at Borders. 'Exotic Birds' was written at home late at night, and sometimes at BAM. 'Solve for X' was almost entirely written from home. Gradually, I've become more comfortable and less distracted when I work from home, but still miss the atmosphere of the public writing space...and the coffee.

Do you like to write somewhere public? Or do you prefer the cozy familiarity of your own home?

Tell me about it, and stay weird.


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I love writing at the library but my library doesn't let patrons hang out for more than 45 minutes (pandemic reasoning).

Phronk said...

I like staying home most of the time, but after an entire year of it, one thing I do miss is writing in a cafe. I'm probably less productive when I'm out, but that's made up for by the inspiration that can come from being around people at the destination itself and getting there and back. Can definitely be distracting though, especially if people bug you.

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs