Writing in Public (Or, Sometimes You Just Need to Get Stuff Done)

This week’s Friday’s post is coming in latea day late, to be precise. Even though I have several rough drafts of posts in the works, I wasn’t able to polish one in time for Friday morning. The funny thing is, for this week’s end-of-week post I am coming up with something from scratch…because sometimes inspiration strikes and you have to run with it.

It didn’t start out that way though: this morning I woke up, determined to leave the house and do some work. By “work” I mean: a) dissertation stuff b) journal article stuff. [This summer I am working on my dissertation, which is a almost a full time job as it is, and I am trying to revise the first chapter of my dissertation to submit to a journal. This on top of eating, sleeping, watching Miss E, and trying to squeeze in some leisurely reading of my own.] I also wanted to get my work done early so I could spend time with my family and our guest this weekend. So I packed my bag and got out by 8:40 am. New record.

At least I thought I packed my bag…you see, when I got to Starbuck’s I saw I left my laptop’s power cord. My laptop is worthless without it. Then, I thought to myself that I could just focus on reading Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun (which I am reading for Chapter 3). However, I left my book at home. So here I was, two hours to myself, without my laptop cord and without the book I meant to read. Just my luck.

I was very upset. Actually, “very upset” doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. I was frustrated, angry, unpleasant. But I sat down and typed up some emails I needed to send out to my writing group anyway. I was determined to stick my middle finger out at Murphy and his stupid law. (Figuratively, of course.) I couldn’t let this time go to waste.

After a while, though, I grew tired of the noise and loud chatter at Starbuck’s. This particular Starbuck’s is one of the noisiest caf├ęs I’ve gone to work. I’m used to working with chatter and music–in fact, I prefer it–but this was ridiculous. So I left in search of another place to work.

My writing nook for this morning

I found a little bench at a statue here at the corner of Nichols Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, and sat down with the intention to work on my abstract. I was struck with the idea for this post instead. Writing in public, with no headphones on, turned out to be better for my creative juices than hunkering down at Starbuck’s and typing away at my laptop. (It’s also a lot quieter than that Starbuck’s down the street.) I probably won’t come here again–the sun is slowly creeping up on me, and there are more customers out and about–but it was nice to sit here for a while and write in peace.

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  1. I still have yet to find a place I can go and write. I have tried the library (but there are so many books that call my name that I get distracted). I have tried the park (but my laptop is dead without a power cord). I have tried my house, hidden in a room away from all of the things that need to be done, only to realize that this room really should be organized. But maybe there is a place in public that I haven’t tried. If you have any suggestions, please share.

    • I find that I migrate from place to place. For a while it was the library. Lately it’s my desk at home. You can also try going to a park but without your laptop, just pen and paper. That way you can move around and not worry about an outlet!

  2. You probably needed that time away from the laptop, you know??

    • I think I certainly did. Even though I thought of it as a set back, it was nice to work away from it. Typing a whole post on my phone wasn’t easy though. :)

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