I like patterns. I dislike calling them routines.
They probably are routines, or habits. For writing, I go to the same place at roughly the same time every day, and order the same drink. It might also be a habit. As parcel to this pattern, I walk.
Variations exist. I prefer writing in mid- to late-morning, so I tend to arrive between ten and eleven. A musician friend of mine is usually leaving as I arrive, so we have a private comedy routine we engage in about changing shifts, ha, ha. Sometimes, I don’t arrive until early- to mid-afternoon, driven back by other commitments.
I sit in about the same area, but at different tables. Yes, I do have a favorite and try for it.
This was all deliberate. When I began writing in earnest, I needed a structure to encourage discipline. Now the structure is just comfortable, and convenient. By engaging in this process, I free myself to write without letting small details interfere.
None of this is new. What is new is that potential change is crowding the horizon.
This writing location isn’t my first choice. It’s a decent coffee shop, with decent writing vibrations. Service is wonderful and the owners are pleasant, polite people. Prices remain shocking, but that’s the modern world’s nature, what with supply and demand, wages and energy costs. Overall, it works.
I came to this place when my previous writing location abruptly ceased doing business. That forced me into a hunt. I tried every coffee shop in town to begin in search of my new haunt. After narrowing the list down from seventeen to three, I frequented each several times.
I have a set of requirements for my writing place.
- Space to write
- Good writing energy
- Good mocha drink – something chocolately, with three or four shots of espresso
- Reasonable prices
- Decent service
- Convenient location
- Clean enough not to be offending
All of this has come up because a new place is to be opened. After three years of inactivity, a new coffee establishment is opening where my previous preference was in business.
Friends familiar with my routines want to know, “Will you start going to the new place?” Well, if it meets my eight needs listed, probably. Right now, this location falls short on good writing energy and convenient location. A little over two miles from home, I often hop in the car, drive closer, and then walk.
This is a compromise. I’m not fond of it. But I have other things to do and can’t always plan to consume that time to walk down there and back.
That’s excuse number one. Excuse number two is weather. We have many days over one hundred degrees in the summer. Winter walking meant enduring rain, snow, ice and wind. It just wasn’t pleasant, and was countering my desire for a walk to shift into the writing mood.
Mind you, my coffee drink’s flavor is important. I’ve tried multiple drinks before deciding that mochas work best for writing. I think that the coffee, sugar and chocolate combo stimulates my creativity and focus.
The new place is much closer. At just under a mile, it’s a fast walk. Variations can be followed to extend the walking time. I found that walk down was perfect for setting the mood to write. Then I could trudge and tramp around afterward to decompress, think and shift back into the real world.
I will try the new business and see if it works. I’ll do back to back comparisons between the two.
Space to write and writing energy are the most critical components. Everything else pales. So we’ll see.
I’m going to do what works for me.