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Friday, February 20, 2009

Stimulate the Economy: Get out of the House

Hello, Wavers - and Happy Friday-Before-the-Oscars. Sorry for posting so late today; had to make a run to the airport this morning. And all that jazz. I don't know how many of you are lucky enough to work at home but if you count yourself as a work-at-homer you know that it is a sublime blessing - and sometimes quite a curse. I myself work at home and I love that I can stop and do laundry, walk the dogs or do the dishes. On the other hand - I work at home. So I am surrounded by work. I can always work. Early morning, late at night - it's always there. When The Script Department decides to get a fancy office on Rodeo Drive, I'm gonna be one happy camper. Because then when you leave - you're DONE for the day. I miss that feeling of DONENESS. I have recently decided, however, in my inventive way, to start working at cafes at least two or three times a week. On TSD stuff and on my writing.

For me, there's something motivating about packing up and working somewhere else. I live in LA and so most coffee shops and cafes are packed to the GILLS with writers tap-tapping away. Something about that conveys a sense of camaraderie. Plus, for me, the white noise of a cafe - the espresso machine, the low murmur of voices, the cars swishing by outside - lends a feeling of being in a sort of bubble within which I can be more productive. I'm not sure why that is but I know I'm not alone because again, the cafes around here are always crowded.

Whether you work at home or work outside the house, consider going to your local cafe to do your writing. I find I can get more writing done in 90 minutes at a cafe than in three hours at home. So give it a whirl - you don't need to spend more time writing, necessarily, you need to spend good time writing.

So off I go - there's a great coffee shop about three blocks from where I live and starting today you can find me there several days a week. Look out, whoever has the table that's gonna be my new favorite spot. Or - maybe this is going to be a journey of finding the perfect cafe to write in. this a story idea?

Wherever you are - get back to work.

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Trina0623 said...

I'm with you Julie. There's just something about writing at a coffee shop, especially one where there are other people working and writing. At my hangout there's a guy who writes music longhand on a pad, which fascinates me. I like the feeling of being insulated from everyday life for a while.
Good luck finding the perfect place to write. It's the perfect storm of convenience, parking, good coffee, ambiance, and whether they have enough outlets for your laptop (cute baristas are a bonus).

E.C. Henry said...

I like to redline hard copys of script drafts at coffee shops. Not big on typing or early story creating in public places.

I guess you're a very evolved cat, Julie. I guess you can do just about anything. How 'bout jugling lit candles?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Chicago John said...

Ditto! An extra benefit is that slow roasted fog of aroma you bring back home, like Linus' blanket, to re-gift to your domicile compadres, both 4-legged and 2-legged.

If you're a David Mamet fan, look for his book of essays, "Writing in Restaurants"...some classic rants, and a few healthy, writerly kicks in the shin, too.

E.C. Henry said...

Hey "Chicago John," you really from Chicago? I grew up in Glendale Hights a suburb of Chicago about 20 miles south, just before the endless cornfields. If you're really from Chicago, have you ever been ontop of the Sears Tower building and spit on the unsuspect below? (just kidding) Though the Sears Tower is like Illinois' Mt. Rainer, the most visible landmark on the horrizon.
Some of my fondest memories of Illinois was when my grandfather used to take me, my brother and my two cousins out to Lake Michigan to watch the 4th of July fireworks display. Portillo's beef is not to be missed either.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Milli Thornton said...

I hear ya, Julie. I work at home and know that sneaky lack of distinction between work and personal life.

The coffeehouse I escape to for my "stimulate the economy" writing days is called Peaberry's Cafe. I always try to nab the booth right in the back corner. That way I can isolate myself but still people watch.

Some days I have to listen to MP3 ocean waves turned up loud (lyrics distract me too much). When the card-playing and spa massage ladies fill the back room with their weekly meetings, the belly laughter and gossip can really mess with my concentration. On the one hand, great material for dialogue... on the other, I could sit there all day being mightily entertained but never get much writing done.

Great post. I felt I was right there with you.