Where to Write?

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When I started writing seven years ago, it was easy to find a place to write. There were four bookstores within a 10 mile radius of my house, all of which had coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. It was a writer’s paradise with unlimited space and inspiration.

Being a coffee shop writer, I loved having the ability to change my atmosphere by simply choosing a different freeway exit. Each coffee shop had it’s own feel and I could choose which one fit what I was going to write that day.

Over the last few years, my options have dwindled considerably. First, Borders went out of business, taking with it two of my writing locations in one shot. Then, back in December 2014, a Barnes and Noble disappeared from the radar. There goes favorite writing spot #3.

Only one writing spot has managed to survive and I’m lucky that it happens to be my favorite. But here’s the thing – even my favorite spot can get stale after a long stretch without a break. Without a change of scenery, inspiration and motivation runs dry.  I see the same people every day (although I love the people that work in my favorite spot) and see the same things.

Sameness brings a certain level of comfort (which I often enjoy), but I’m starting to get antsy and even bored. Writers need spark and I am seriously in danger of losing my spark. I’ve tried writing at home, but there is so much distraction thanks to one husband, five furkids, and the TV. I need to be out and about with endless background activity and conversations to wake up my muse.

There is a nice little Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf nearby and I am starting to explore it’s possibility as a new writing spot. The only issue I’m having has to do with the coffee. It’s good, but it’s not my muse juice. I may have to experiment with the menu to see if there’s some magic elixir hiding somewhere in the latte options.

I live in a city that has almost no stand alone coffee shops. Maybe its because I live in a desert where cold smoothies are the thing or maybe there simply isn’t a coffee culture. Almost everywhere I’ve been from Europe to Asia, I’ve always been able to find a coffee shop. I’ve written in coffee shops in London, Killarney, Florence, and Shanghai, which makes it even more baffling to me that I can’t find a decent coffee shop/writing spot where I live.

Part of my writing goals for the summer includes scoping out new writing spots. I don’t want my favorite (and last bastion) to become that blah spot I once liked, so I have to find some new places to put into rotation. Hopefully, there is a magic spot or two waiting to be discovered!

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Where do you write? I’m open to all possible ideas!

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c.b.w. 2015

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22 thoughts on “Where to Write?

  1. I love the library as an option, especially the small study rooms when they are available. And some restaurants are great about letting me sit in a back corner, especially in the afternoon when things are slow. Good luck with your search!

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    • I figure there’s got to be a hidden little gem somewhere around here! I thought about going to a library, but I think it might be a little too quiet. I like a little noise and activity in the background.

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  2. Sat. while waiting for Hubby to get his eyes checked I went next door to the Target which has Starbucks. It was a very interesting change and I did come up with some ideas. Won’t be a regular place, but it paid off that time. There is a place across Union Hills from PVCC. Just east of 32nd St.
    Seems like I saw a couple just north of the freeway on Cave Creek when heading north. There are a lot of new businesses out there.

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    • I’ve tried the place across from PVCC and it had good coffee, but they played the music way too loud. That in turn made everyone talk really loud. The atmosphere just isn’t there for me.

      I may have to check out Cave Creek! Last time I passed through there were a lot of empty spaces, so maybe they’ve since filled up. 🙂

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  3. I used to have a little outdoor table setting and would move that around the yard as the weather dictated. As for coffee shops, I live in Melbourne, Australia, where it seems as if there’s one cafe for every two people, so there’s no end to places to write. My other favourite is the local public library, on a quiet day, and an Arboretum about 10 minutes’ drive away. 🙂

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    • Sounds like a writer’s paradise! 🙂 I think part of the problem here is how spread out the city is – it’s hard to get around (public transportation is awful) and that probably makes it hard for stand alone cafes to survive. Of course, I think the bigger issue is the lack of a coffee culture. This is apparently ice tea territory!

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  4. I’ve had the same problem since Borders and Caribou went belly-up. They were my two most visited writing spots. My summer project is also to check out writing spots. We still have some independent coffee places. The two I like the most, that have both good coffee and good vibes, are small so it can be very hard to get a table. I know that the perfect place is waiting out there for us to find. I hope we don,t have to drink too much bad coffee as part of the search.

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  5. Oh wow! What an intriguing idea…changing “where” you write! Because I’m a stay at home mom with no parents or parents in law baby-sitting and no baby-sitters I’m always at home writing but the prospect of that changing in the near future with my youngest being in PreK is kind of exciting! I hadn’t really thought of this aspect of it till I read your post! I don’t have any suggestions – just a thank you for expanding the vision. 🙂

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    • I’ve never been able to write at home (other than small bits of poetry). Something in the house always distracts me! Both of my novels were written in other locations. I think I just need a background that isn’t totally recognizable.

      I hope your adventure into a new writing space will inspired some interesting poetry! 🙂

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  6. Most of my writing time is spent at home. I’m the opposite: I get too distracted when there are so many people to observe and sounds to describe. : )

    I’m not sure what your area is like, but if you’re looking for a constant bustle of activity with places to sit, what about a mall food court? A bit unconventional, but at least it’s indoors and might have the right noise/activity level.

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    • I love how different writers have different methods. I seem to thrive on the energy and sounds of a public place. If I need a character in a snap, there’s always one hanging out at the table next to me. 🙂

      Good idea to seek out a mall. Most of the malls here are outdoor, meaning there is no one structure that houses everything. The weather is beautiful most of the year, so they construct malls with outdoor walkways and landscaping. It’s really quite nice, but during the summer it’s a bit too hot to hang out in the food court. I might try it when it cools down, though!

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  7. I usually can’t write in public spaces. I people watch instead! It helps that I don’t write with a laptop, but I actually get a large portion of my writing done in the bathtub, of all places.

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