Posts Tagged ‘coffee shops’

Creating the Right Atmosphere

Perhaps you’re the sort of person who can write anywhere – even at the dining room table while your offspring scream bloody murder and beat each other with foam swords. You are a lucky person.

For the rest of us who need to be at least somewhat in a good frame of mind to get work done, this post is for you.

This will vary from person to person. A lot of people like to create their own little writing cave, with inspirational artwork on the walls and their desk laid out just so for the best writing efficiency. Others just need any sort of flat, clean surface, as long as its either quiet and/or bright and/or you are the only one and so no one can bother you.

If you’re having trouble focusing, take a look at the environment you’re trying to work in. Is it messy? Clutter, for whatever reason, often manages to be subconsciously distracting enough to throw you off. Is it bright? If the room’s too dark, you might find yourself getting drowsy. Is it noisy? Sometimes it can be hard to focus around a lot of extraneous noise. Some people can listen to music to drown out random noise; others cannot.

Experiment with music, lighting, and location to see what works best for your creative juices. Sometimes you will need to leave the house to get work done – try a variety of coffee shops, libraries, and book stores – any place that’s willing to let you sit at a table for a few hours for the price of a mocha (or less) – and see if you can find one that suits you. My favorite one is painted with cheerful colors, has lots of natural light, and contains a constant low hum of happy customers.

Do you have any tips to share? What works for you?

Coffee Shops vs. Libraries

If you’re like me, occasionally you like to escape from the house and sit somewhere else so you can pretend that you have some semblance of a social life.

The first place I ever visited on a regular basis was a lovely place known as the Tea Spot.  They almost always had room for me to sit for several hours, drinking copious amounts of tea and eating chocolate and scones.  (They had the best scones.  No unnecessary fruit.)

From there, I moved on to coffee shops.  I don’t actually like coffee, but I have made do.  There’s something very hipster about sitting in a coffee shop, tiny computer out, drinking your peppermint mocha, headphones in but not necessarily listening to anything.

I like coffee shops, I really do.  But they have their drawbacks.  The main one being that you have to buy something.  I mean, no one’s going to hunt you down and make you have a latte or whatever, but basic courtesy says if you’re going to take up main table space for a few hours, you should give them something in return.  Also, they may give you the evil eye and set your car on fire.

Secondly, they tend to be noisy.  Writers love coffee shops.  Unfortunately, so do book clubs, study groups, teenagers, and noodle-eating smokers.  Sometimes it’s fine.  Sometimes you want to stab people in the eye with a pen.

They also tend to be crowded.  You walk in wondering if there’s any good tables left – or any tables at all – or if you’re going to have to stuff yourself into some odd corner.  And if you have a group of people coming…well.

As an alternative, I’ve started going to my local library to get some work done.  It’s quiet, there are plenty of places to work, the wifi works great, and if you need to do research, you are surrounded by books.  No baristas staring at you willing you to buy caffeine.  One could argue that it is, perhaps, too quiet, but that is a silly concern. (Besides, you can still bring headphones and listen to music.)

Where’s your favorite place to write?  Any preference on the type of venue?