Thursday, June 13, 2013

Writing in Public

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Writing in a public venue is a refreshing alternative to the way most writers such as myself spend their days—alone.  Though my writer’s crate is comfortable and easily accessible when I want to escape with my thoughts and my laptop, there are also numerable distractions such as never-ending piles of laundry and dirty dishes, two feisty dogs that love to play, and usually two or three kids vying for my attention at any given time.

Recently, Kate and I met some very dear literary buddies at a trendy coffee shop in town to celebrate the friendships we’ve created all because of our love of reading.  We decided we’d meet earlier than the rest of the group so we could entertain our muse and spend some quality time letting our restless pens have a vigorous release in our favorite journals.

The timer Kate brought along beeped and then we began to write fast and furiously for ten minutes.  There were no rules for this writing exercise except to allow our words to flow in whatever direction our thoughts would take us.

I was afraid I’d have writer’s block sitting amidst a bustling cafĂ© but instead, the words bounced off my pen and on to my crisp tablet almost as effortlessly as the playful beams of sunshine bounced off of the nearby tables and warm wooden floor that surrounded us.  I was filled with ideas, almost too many to make sense of, but after inhaling the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee and hearty bagels being toasted right beside me, my mind focused on one particular theme and for the next several minutes I escaped to a delightful adventure on my pages that left my pulse racing and my imagination whirring for hours after I stopped.
Once our friends arrived we tucked the timer and our journals away and enjoyed a lovely morning full of wonderfully engaging conversation and many, many laughs.  The morning was just perfect!

Later that evening I pulled out my journal to review what I had written, and much to my delight, I realized I had just written a good portion of a chapter in the novel I’m working on.  It was completely unexpected, and I honestly don’t think I could’ve captured the same essence if I had tried to consciously write like this at home.

This exercise was such a great reminder that it’s important and necessary to shake things up in our writing routines, even if it means physically leaving our usual writing space and finding a nook elsewhere in this busy world to make it happen.  Not only do we as human beings have to think outside the box when we want to get creative, as artists, we have to write outside the box as well.  I’m already looking forward to the next time I can grab my pad and pen and adapt to another busy location where my thoughts can once again come alive in a public forum.

Does writing in coffee shops or other public places work for you as a writer?

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