Why writing in cafes is really hard

writing in a cafe

Today, on Day Three of my Month of Pantsting, I decided to write in a cafe.

Because, I am weak, and like many writers, I have fallen in love with the idea of writing in cafes, getting on first name terms with the staff, naming my characters after them.  Blablabla.  I blame J.K. Rowling and her glamorous tales of life as a solo mum, banging out Harry at the local cafe.  I fell for it like the rest of you.

But here I am afraid is the sad truth.  Cafe owners hate writers.

WHY CAFE OWNERS HATE WRITERS – especially aspiring ones!

Cafe owners love people who are nipping in for a quick coffee or a bite to eat.  In out, 30 minutes max and then the table is free for some new punters.  Job done.

But writers?   Oooh, that’s a whole other ball game.  I guarantee that cafe owners see that laptop emerging from the bag and they have already calculated how much that novel has lost them in lost revenue.  They know that we will be there for hours sipping on that one cold coffee and just generally cluttering up the place.  We take up a table for four.  We eat nothing.  We have no friends, and glare if the music is too high or if people dare to laugh too loudly near us!

If we were good writers we would at least order a suitable amount of coffees.  Say two per hour to make up for the fact that we are taking up space that could be inhabited by honest, decent, paying customers.  A word of caution though : if you drink two coffees per hour, you will probably be dead within a week.  And that will definitely put a dent in your monthly word count.

And Planners/ Outliners…. well, it’s never going to work is it?  The cafe owner is not going to let you pin your vision board and plot outline to the wall, let alone tolerate your covering the tabletop with PostIts.

The Solution?

It’s a simple one.  Go in disguise.  You have several options of course:

Disguise options for writers:

  1.  Go as J.K. Rowling.  Blonde wig.  Shy demeanor.  Soft voice.  Throw in a couple of references to Harry et al and you are good to go.
  2. Go as a ‘business person’.  People are generally much more tolerant of all sorts of shenanigans if they are done by people wearing suits.  My evidence for this?  Global Financial Crisis anyone????
  3. Pretend you are a tourist.  Make a point of asking for the WIFI password and then pretend to be having a Skype conversation in a different language before burying yourself into your laptop.  Don’t speak another language?  Call yourself a writer???  Make it up, my friend! NOTE: the downside of this plan is that it is difficult to return to the same cafe for more than three days.  That’s when the special Tourist in Cafe dispensation runs out!
  4. Pretend to be a cop.  You can buy a fake uniform and occasionally talk into a walkie-talkie for effect.  Buy a donut and cwaffey, and you are golden with this disguise for a few hours at least. Top Tip:  Don’t buy one of those sexy cop uniforms – inappropriate!
  5. Write by hand.  This is my disguise of choice of course.  That way I could be confused for a sad woman sitting on her own filling in her ‘dear diary’ for the day.  This approach is also much easier if you are not a plotter because you have all you need – pen, notebook, head full of sparkling and exciting ideas fopr the next big thing on Amazon.

Alternatively, you could just bite the bullet and write at home.  But there’s nothing very glam about that is there???

Latte anyone?

Oh and by the way.  I did write today.  3000 words.  Yayah 🙂

Have you ever written in a cafe?  Any tips for how to make it work?  Any other disguises that could work?  Leave a comment.  This could be a vital writers resource that we are creating here, people!