Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Change of Scenery

I have to admit that I think this blog posting is going to be a bit short today because I honestly thought of my topic last night while I was sitting in a busy coffee shop last night working on my latest project. Yes, I am one of those NaNoWriMo'ers, where I am attempting to pump out 50,000 words in less than a month. It would equate to roughly less than half of a novel, but it would give me a nice head start on a potential book that could interest my editor. (Yay!)

But I digress from my main point of writing this morning/afternoon. A couple months ago I wrote about my private lair (aka office) where I get most of my writing done. I stressed the importance of having things around you to stimulate the senses and the imagination as well as things that immediately set you at ease. I still stand by all these arguments.

However, there are times when you need to leave the sanctity of your private lair and venture out into the real world (shudder) with your laptop and get some work done at another location. One of my favorite little spots is a Panera Bread Company not too far from my house. It has free wi-fi, excellent cafe mochas, and if you're lucky, access to a electrical outlet.

I will admit that I bring along my MP3 player to block out the excessive noise and conversation that is flowing around me, but for the most part I have to admit that I am a people watcher. After typing a few hundred words, I'll gaze up from my computer as I think about a turn in the scene and I will watch the people shuffling about me. My mind will wander for a second as I think about what they could be saying or thinking. I wonder why one woman is eating alone or why another couple is eating breakfast together but are both hiding behind parts of the newspaper instead of talking to each other... The world around me starts to take on shape again.

Sometimes, my word count for the time frame isn't as high as it might have been if I had stayed home and worked in my office, but I don't mind. I feel as if I took a moment to refill my creative well. If you spend too much time locked in an office, I think there is a fear of losing contact with humanity and that is generally what we are all writing about. Of course, it could be just me and my introverted nature. It may sound strange, but sometimes me going to a coffee house reminds my vampires what it means to be human.

Do you have a favorite space in the real world? Are you a people watcher too?


Sharon S. said...

Big time people watcher! I love it. I recently went to the NC State Fair and talk about a crowd! I was great. I love to drive to the mountains to recharge. Just seeing them get closer fills me with optimism and joy. If I was a writer I would have to have a writing space that looked out over the mountains.

Judit said...

Yeah I tend to do the people watching too. Even when we go out with the girls I find myself always sizing up and analyzing people around me :)In class we learned that people can't look down or away from the "crowd" for long cause it disturbs us and triggers our basic instincts to look around for preadtors and stuff. We even had a field trip in to a mall and watched people in the dining area; each one of us had to choose a person by random and than watch that the frequency and time differences of their lookin up :)

Pamela Palmer said...

I'm not a people watcher. I'm so firmly in my own head I forget to watch what's going on around me. I recently walked into Starbucks and stood in line while half a dozen people in front of me ordered before I saw my friends waiting on the other side of the room to surprise me with birthday balloons. I could probably walk into the middle of a bank robbery and not notice. That said, I don't think I could actually write in public. I need my writing cave.

Cylver said...

I work in retail, so believe me when I say there's ample opportunity for people-watching!
Occasionally I like to get a few friends together to go dancing to 80s music. The people at the clubs we go to are so varied, you never know who's gonna show up, so again, great for people-watching. And, oh, the drama! You could write entire soap opera episodes. So much fun!

Moonsanity said...

I haven't tried writing in public yet. I actually have a Panera Bread GC that I haven't used and keep thinking it would be fun to go there-- it's about 20 minutes from where I live. Oddly, something I found that helps me is driving. I'll head off to run errands, turn the music up loud, and by time I return back home I've got an idea that I was struggling with before I left.