Writing Problems: Passing Time in a Coffee Shop

Snow removal at my condo timed weirdly with a hair appointment, so instead of moving my car and then fetching it less than an hour later, I decided to pass part of the morning in the coffee shop alongside my hairdresser’s.  I crammed a notebook and book into my purse, ordered a croissant, and took up a big portion of a table, set to get some work done.

Mmm, croissants... photo credit: Castle Pantry - Croissant via photopin (license)
Mmm, croissants…
photo credit: Castle Pantry – Croissant via photopin (license)

I’ve left the house to write before. For a week when I still lived with my parents, I spent the better part of the morning in the local library editing away on the then current story. Since then I’ve pulled out the notebook on airplane trips and when I’ve waited in hotel rooms, but it’s been a long time since I left my house with the specific intent of writing.

In the course of an hour, I got quite a bit done. I picked up a momentum and got a few pages written. When I took a moment to pause there was plenty to look at: the town cops coming in for their regular coffee, an older couple saying grace over their egg sandwiches, a pair of teenagers yammering away, happy. At home I have the distraction of the TV, the dog (though I love her so), the mess of my house that really ought to be picked up, those novels that actually should be organized in a different way… I still had my phone to distract me a little, but all the pointless junk I usually look at becomes less important when I move myself to a different scene. A quick skim of Facebook became less a death to my productivity, and more a chance to breath before diving back into the deep end.

I’m lazy. Once I’m home, I have a hard time pushing myself out the door. But maybe I can try a little trip outside of my nest on a more regular basis, and who knows — maybe I’ll finish my work. (As long as all those buttered croissants don’t choke my heart.)

Writers and creative types, do you ever leave the house to get your work done? Do you find it helpful, or even more of a distraction than your desk at home? Do you thrive in coffee shops, or is a nice calm quiet library (oh, I crack myself up) more your thing? Let me know!