Today I’m working from the back room of the Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse. They have a terrific reading series here, lots of fun activities for readers, writers, film buffs and game players, and an awesome view of Liberty Bay, one of only a few North American fjords to be found.
I always enjoy working “on the lam,” when wifi is free and hot drinks are good. It’s a lifestyle thang in the Pac NW. But I often forget that it’s an option and end up spending way too much time in my home office, which is not a bad place to be, but it’s awfully familiar.
Here are some tips for taking your creative writing life out of the house:
- Call ahead to find the spots with free wifi. Jot their hours down on your calendar. Visit them each until you find the places you’re most comfortable working at.
- Develop a first-name basis with your favorites. You never know, you might be including them in the acknowledgments of your bestselling novel! It matters to say thanks in that way.
- Take your power supply cord in case you can plug in; take a fully charged laptop if you can’t.
- Get yourself a good waterproof carrying case for your laptop. I can’t live without one in this climate.
- Bring your spillproof coffee mug. It’s more ecofriendly and it’s also safer around your laptop, in case you should spill. Sometimes those little cafe tables are tad bit wiggly.
- Take a list of things to complete while you are out, some offline, some online. This way, you have work to do regardless of the connection.
- Tip the house well to cover your “seat rental.” They don’t ask but it’s a good thing to reward them for supporting your writing life by letting you stick around for more than the usual 30 minute coffee break. I know I’m good for about 2 hours at a crack.
- If you’re working on your battery, let it run down to 33% then pack it up and go somewhere to recharge.
- Take a notepad for jotting down overheard conversations, stray thoughts, fresh images and observations. Why promote an analog activity while working digitally? Your brain functions in different ways depending upon how you record information. If you type it into a file, that uses one part of your brain. If you write it by hand, it records it using a different part of your brain. Why not use both? Your memory will thank you later, trust me.
- If you can’t take the white noise that comes with working in public places (I can tune out everything, but then, I have children, so I have practice!), take your mp3 player and plug in to some quiet music. Even just wearing the headset buffers exterior noise and sends the message, “writer at work,” in case you live, like I do, in a small town where everyone knows everyone.
- Don’t forget all your related tools such as reading glasses, ergo pillows, cables for peripherals like cameras (for downloads), PDAs, mp3 players and the like.
And speaking of 33%, that’s where I’m at, so it’s time for me to run. See you this week!