Oh, The Places We Go…To Write

When I came across the part in Stephen King’s On Writing where he discusses how each writer should have his/her own writing space, I thought, huh—yeah, that’s what I need.  A nice space conducive to writing. So I set up a little office in the spare bedroom of our house.

And I LOVE this space.  I mean, it has my favorite of everything–my favorite paintings and photography on the walls, shelves full of books, postcards with images of young Elvis, a Johnny Cash bumper sticker, and weird little vases and art pieces I’ve picked up here and there…basically a bunch of little things that are very much me.  Also, a nice desk, a comfortable chair, and office supplies of every kind (uh, I have a sort of strange obsession with office supplies).  In short, this is the most comfortable, inspiring, perfect writing space I could create.  So, where do I write?


That’s right.  Everyday, instead of plopping myself down in my comfy chair, I head out to Starbucks.   There, I write at a small, round, wooden table that fits little more than my laptop, sit in a somewhat uncomfortable chair, and am surrounded by strangers whose conversations I have to drown out by plugging earbuds in place and listening to different playlists.   And why?  Why do I go here where I raise eyebrows as I talk/laugh/grunt to myself and type away?  Why do I go here to suffer the strange looks I  get from people when I look up and around, searching for the right word, but perhaps have a look on my face that could be interpreted as an unfriendly glare.  Why do I go here when I have the best writing space I can possibly imagine back at home? Good question.

At first, this puzzled me.  I used to think it was because at Starbucks, it’s impossible for me to get sidetracked doing a load of laundry or dishes.  But let’s get real, I can talk myself out of doing those things pretty easily.  The truth is, I write here precisely because it’s NOT my favorite place.  Because it’s not super comfy.  Because I can’t look at a picture of Elvis or Johnny Cash bumper sticker and suddenly focus all my efforts into making a new kickass playlist.  Because, I can’t browse through my books and decide which one to reread next.  Because I can’t make a necklace (or whole collection of jewelry) out of paper clips.  Because there’s nothing else for me to do at Starbucks other than…write.  And when I’m stuck, I force myself to sit there and think until I get unstuck.  And well, the smell of coffee in the air is kind of nice, so maybe that’s part of it, but also, I’m kind of convinced that there is something in this particular establishment that just makes it easier for me to write.  Not a muse, or anything like that—just…something that helps me keep at it.  Know what I mean?  So even though it’s not how I imagined or planned, and even though I do use my intended writing space on occasion, this is my real writing space–this is where I do my best writing.

Where’s yours? Does it have that something that helps you write?

Follow me on Twitter @jetchez

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13 Responses to Oh, The Places We Go…To Write

  1. Ollin says:

    Haha! I love this. Very good. I am the exact same way. I write at starbucks or at my local library, I hate it at both places. I hate the coffee and the fact that a bunch of bratty teenagers are always hanging out at the library. But it’s EXACTLY what you said. I will get too distracted at home, too comfy. But when I’m out, I want to leave, and that makes me write so that I can leave and go home, lol. So it does wonders for productivity. Great post! 🙂

  2. Ollin says:

    I agree. I’m at bucks right now. And the glare on my screen is so annoying. lol.

  3. Perri says:

    I have the same problem, but I often chalk it up to a shared and horridly disorganized office space and three kids. I love my local coffee shop– there are no Starbucks here in rural New England. I figure, if my novel ever gets published, I will have to put “Bart’s Cafe” in the acknowledgements page.


    • What! No Starbucks! That’s amazing…and possibly illegal, lol.

      Yeah, I’ll probably have to dedicate my first book to the staff. They’re so nice to me…or maybe they just worry about the weird girl who sits in the corner everyday and mumbles to herself. At any rate, it’s a good place to write.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hello says:

    I just saw your post on GLA. A wonderful blog you have here. I’d love to ask you some advice re: writing and organization. (I’m very lost). If you don’t mind that, could you send me a quick email to let me know? Then maybe I can just send you a few thoughts, questions that are overwhelming me maybe! I really admire you!

  5. Lu says:

    I like to write at the library. Big, sun drenched room on the second floor (big enough so no glare on the computer screen), it’s the adult floor so it’s very quiet, and library rules mean I don’t spend my time snacking, writing stuff, getting on the internet, etc.

    I don’t get to go there that often (my writing is often done in horrible places at inopportune times, like my couch during movie night). Most my writing is late night after the kids are in bed, in this one really comfortable chair.

    I do have a gorgeous writing desk. It’s currently covered in about 75 books my guy is using to study for his comps. It’s where I store my writing stuff (I too have an obsession with office supplied, especially fresh notebooks and pens).

  6. Jason says:

    Hey Jenny!
    Great post and Blog. I’m exactly the same way except I go to a local Coffee Shop or a Books-a-million. When struggling with a scene I image people fighting over the last copy of my sold out book “Awesome is the New Awesome because it’s Awesome” :). I agree with the point that that whole getting away helps, plus sitting in a place with evidence that hard work pays off is very inspiring.

  7. Kristin Gray says:

    Hey, Jenny, first off- CONGRATS on the agent! Just came over from Casey’s site.
    Our Starbucks is tiny, so I head over to a local bakery/cafe one morning a week -for the same reasons as you (distance myself from laundry, research, cooking). Funny what we do to procrastinate doing the hard stuff. 😉

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