Getting Past Writer’s Block- coffee, cake and conversation

coffee shop
My office

I know the rather wonderful J K Rowling made this famous, but writing in a coffee shop is really that helpful. I don’t expect to write the next great children’s book-mostly because I’m not trying to- but whenever I get really stuck, it’s what I turn to. Luckily, we have plenty of choices locally – the one above is one of my favourites- where the owners are quite tolerant of me and my scribblings.

A large cappuccino, and on particularly uninspired days perhaps a pastry or a brownie set the scene. A round biro, my favourite notepad and a copy of a draft, if I’ve even got that far, complete the picture. Ideally the coffee shop should be buzzing, but not too loud. I don’t like to be able to pick out words, because I can’t help being drawn into listening to snippets. Ordinarily snatches like that are defined for my  battered, brown leather notebook, but on a writing day they are just another distraction, like the ones I have escaped at home.

I’m a bit like Dug the dog in “UP’- most things are potential squirrels. I have a perfectly good study, with a rocking chair, desk, computer and a view over the city- all distractions, before you take into consideration noises downstairs, the phone, the  mobile, the iPad, the book cataloguing project- but I’m getting distracted…

For me, lack of ideas is not the problem- it’s deciding exactly what, out of all the things that distract me, to write about and how to do it. Coffee shops say to me, ‘Stop prevaricating. Put the pen to paper and just write, for goodness’ sake’ And so I do.

Thanks to all the baristas, waiters, cleaner uppers, cooks and bottle washers, managers and managed , who make it all possible . I’ll be back tomorrow.


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