Where writers choose to work on their craft matters. I was in a Starbucks today, meeting someone to sell some crafting equipment. (I decided to stop crafting anything but stories and poems because everything else is just a distraction.) As I stood there, I observed people sitting and working on laptops and tablets. Most of them had headphones on. Most were tucked into some dark corner, ignoring everyone around them so they could concentrate. One guy was spread out over half the counter and glared at me when I sat down, like my mere presence was disruptive to his workspace.
I wondered why these people bothered to come to the coffee shop to work at all. Maybe their homes are noisy. Well, Starbucks was noisy–and with some construction going on outside, I hope their headphones were noise-cancelling. Maybe their homes are too distracting. But the comings and goings of a busy coffee shop would distract me.
There’ve been so many times people have suggested I go and work at a coffee shop, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s not based on concern that I’ll seem pretentious–I don’t think I am pretentious and even if I seemed that way to others, it wouldn’t really affect me. It’s based on the fact that I don’t think I’d be as productive.
When I’m writing, especially fiction or poetry, any real-world distraction is detrimental to my focus, to my work. I’m usually searching my brain for the exact right word or playing out a scene in my head. The only place I can efficiently do this is closed up in my small bedroom. I go full-screen on my computer and ignore everything else if I really need to concentrate. For me, writing in public spaces is like inviting the public into my imagination while I try to sort out a story in there. It just doesn’t work for me.
Where do you write? If you’re not a writer, where do you work? If you work in an office, where would you prefer to work? Why?