I’m not a coffee shop writer. I suppose I ought to be, considering I’m a tech-savvy twenty-something with aspirations of being a moderately-caffeinated yuppie, but I just can’t seem to manage to live up to my label.
I want to be one of the cool kids lounging in a comfy leather chair, tapping away at my laptop and sipping some overly complicated coffee concoction. I’ve got the Mac Book. I’ve even got a sleek new Kindle Fire tablet. But I can hardly even figure out how to read the menu and order my drink without getting distracted, confused, and tongue-tied in such a busy environment. The constant chatter, the jet engine whirr of the milk foaming thingy and the deafening ice crusher, the door always opening and closing…some people thrive on the background noise and constant movement, but it just isn’t for me.
At my day job, you’d think it would be easy to use my spare moments to squeeze out a couple hundred words before 5:00. After all, we’re an office dedicated to writing, aren’t we? But we’re also an office dedicated to comparing page views, sharing information, a lot of good-natured teasing, and even more talk about football (bleh). That means as soon as I put my headphones in to listen to my favorite white noise mp3 and slip into my own fictional universe for a while, I have to take them out again to make sure that the person who’s talking isn’t expecting me to answer them.
The only place I’ve ever been able to really concentrate is at home. Sitting cross-legged on the couch in my pajamas, snacks at hand and shoes nowhere to be found, I can be sure that there won’t be any interruptions or calls for my attention that I can’t easily ignore. For me, the background needs to completely fade away so I can focus. The quiet, familiar surroundings I’ve cultivated for myself (when my neighbors aren’t home, at least) present me with no surprises.
Maybe it has to do with feeling secure. No one is going to read over my shoulder or look at me funny when I start whispering to myself as I type. I don’t have to justify myself; I don’t have to worry about being watched as I take part in what is a fundamentally internal, deeply personal pursuit. For me, my home is a safe retreat from feeling angsty about what the rest of the world thinks about me, and the release from my perpetual low-grade social anxiety is the only thing that allows my creativity to run free.
So you don’t have to worry about me taking up the best chair in the corner for hours at a time. I won’t hog the outlets or ask if I can borrow your charger for ten minutes. And I won’t be spending a fortune on topping up my latte every time the clock strikes, thank you very much. Give me a blanket and the freedom to stretch out any which way I please, and I’ll spend half the day happily muttering to myself, oblivious to the rest of the world as I creep towards my manuscript’s finish line.
Where’s your favorite place to get some words down on the page? Vote for your top choice or leave a comment below.