Writing in public

Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeI am reluctant to write in public.

I do do it occasionally, especially when I feel like I’m too distracted at home. When the internet calls my name too loudly or I get too caught up in household chores.

I used to go to the library, but I’ve stopped doing that. It’s too loud there.

There isn’t a silence rule in Australian libraries, although they are generally quiet enough, but when a place is generally quiet, and then two people start having a normal-volume conversation, it sounds louder than it is, and is hard to ignore. I’ve found the librarians the biggest offenders here. Either talking to each other, or catching up with friends who are library patrons. And the last few times I went to the library, it was full of students and I couldn’t find a single free desk. Argh!

So if I do go out to work now, it’s to a coffee shop. The low-volume buzz of noise is actually less intrusive than silence broken by a conversation. But I know when I get caught up in my work, my face and body language reflect what I’m writing. When I’m being humorous, I smile, when it’s tense, my face shows tension. When there are strangers around, I feel like maybe I’m less willing to get deep into the emotion of the story.

Sometimes I end up simply working out what I’m going to write next, and there is plenty of value in that, but I’ve had to really get strict with myself about sticking to writing at home without letting the convenience of being AT home get to me.

So far, it’s been working out pretty well, and I think I’ll only go out to work now as a last resort, although I know a lot of writers who thrive at writing outside of their home office. For the writers amongst the readers of this blog, do you like writing somewhere other than at home, and for the readers out there who do other work, do you find it easy to work on what ever job you do outside the office?

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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6 Responses to Writing in public

  1. I don’t write in public. I prefer to write in the quiet of my office, and I don’t like the hassle of packing up my laptop and taking it somewhere else. I guess I am a little lazy that way. LOL.
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  2. Edie Ramer says:

    I’ve tried writing in public and in a Starbucks – and even with a group. I’m just too aware of the other people in the place to be productive. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Michelle,

    I’m lucky to have a library that has separate study rooms. I can get enough privacy to work freely if I need. But I do work better completely without distraction, which usually means home. 🙂

    • My library has a reading room, which is supposed to be quiet, but whenever I’ve been there, there has been an old man there reading the paper and he sighs, grunts in disgust and says ‘huh’ as he reads it, so I’m guessing he is annoyed by the news in general. Because it’s quiet in there, I can hear everything he does and start to wait for it, which totally puts me off my stride, LOL.

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