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A Writer On Writing: Coffee Shop Writing

Sally Jenkins is frustrated when she tries to write in a coffee shop.

I fancied myself as a J.K. Rowling sort of writer – scribbling away in
the corner of a cafe, far from all the domestic distractions and guilt
trips (like ironing, kitchen cleaning etc). So when my daughter bought
me a Costa Coffee gift card I decided to indulge my fantasy.

11am on a Friday morning and the cafe was busy but I managed to find
a nice little table hidden away at the back – just right for me, my latte
and my notebook. I had a few sips of coffee, found my pen and started
to write and that’s when I noticed the noise level. All around me were
groups of women yakking at the tops of their voices (or so it seemed).

I’d never noticed this decibel assault before (probably because I’m
usually one of those yakking women when I go out for coffee!) It was
impossible to stop myself tuning into what they had to say:

“That’s Mark’s ex. Now he’s with the one with the crooked eye.”

“They stitched her up so the baby couldn’t come out and now she’s
nearly 2 weeks overdue.”

“She was sick at the altar whilst she made her wedding vows.”

At home I write in silence with not even the radio on for company so all
this was hard to take but I did eventually manage to tune out and write.

The next problem was – how long can you sit with an empty latte glass
in front of you without feeling obliged to buy another or leave? It was a
situation made worse when the waitress whisked my glass away leaving
me with nothing – but she completely ignored the tables of women
who’d been there much longer than me. So I gave up and went home.

Would I try coffee shop writing again? Yes – I’ve still got £7.65 left on
my gift card and it was good to get away from the PC and back to pen
and paper. But I’ll try to go when it’s not so busy next time and have a
pot of tea – so it’s not so obvious when I’ve finished & the waitress
won’t whisk it away!

Where do you prefer to write?


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