I discovered my productivity was better when writing in public and that the end product was not necessarily crap.
I used to be a bit of a hot-house flower when it came to my writing conditions. The condition I favoured was sat at Bronnie’s banker’s desk in my warm and cosy apartment.
That was until I took a train journey where: (1) I had forgotten my reading book; (2) my phone was not charged; and (3) my iPad buried in a suitcase. I, therefore, whipped out my laptop to make a start on the article I had told my editor had been started two days ago. Since that train journey, I discovered my productivity was actually better when writing in public and that the end product was not necessarily crap. This started a search for the perfect coffee shop.
1. Goldilocks like, the coffee had to be good, but not so good as to attract the self-anointed coffee connoisseurs.
2. Quiet enough to be workable, albeit busy enough to be interesting.
3. Warm enough to be comfortable, but not so warm as to induce sleep.
4. Staff unafflicted with the are-you-going-to-nurse-that-one-cup-of-coffee-forever death stare.
5. Wi-fi one does not have to pay for, but Wi-fi that works when free of charge.
6. Power points beneath every table, or near as damn it.
7. Tables large enough to spread copy, but small enough to discourage drive-by companionship.
8. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar facilities.
9. Interesting tapas, dips and soups to aid sustenance, but not so chi-chi complicated as to eat into valuable minutes deciding what to order.
10. Low level lighting. First drafts always look better in low level lighting.
And I did eventually find my coffee shop sanctuary in the city.
Then one day I got a harried call moving a writing deadline from a comfortable muse to an indecent sprint. I wrote the thing on my phone, at a bus-stop, in the rain! I have since become less precious about where I write and now resonate with this quote accredited to Cory Doctorow:
Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.