Fitting in to stand out

I left domesticity behind this morning, with my second batch of laundry purring in the machine and my changed sheets growling in the dryer. I was on the run from the noise of laundry day. I had no need for a coat this morning, but the distinct chill did make my glad for the company of my scarf. I plodded along to my destination slowly, my mind already starting to drift into another realm.

I was lucky enough to commandeer the largest sofa in my local Starbucks, tucked away inside the big Sainsbury’s. My Grande Skinny Hazelnut Latte (capital-letter-worthy) stood handsomely before me, a real day-off treat. My pen was poised as I opened my mind, ready to see what ideas would wander through today.

It sounds awfully pretentious to admit that I like writing in coffee shops, but I do. I enjoy the sense of anonymity in a bustling atmosphere. I get to contemplate each new thought whilst taking a sip of coffee. I am left alone to write and I feel like this is when I write quality stuff. I think part of me likes the intellectual allure of being confident enough to write in public. Or at least seeming to be. For me at least, the lack of confidence in my own work leads me to the coffee shop in the first place.

When I try to write at home, I feel pressure. I flit from room to room, trying to find the perfect position, a faux attempt at a relaxed state. I hate trying to write when I feel like I’m being forced to. When I’m at home, I feel like I have to write x amount, or the day is wasted. The glimpses of my beloved bookshelf don’t help the situation. The wondrous work of others drowns my endeavours to join them. I feel dwarfed, like I will never squeeze into the limited space left. Why bother trying?

The negativity doesn’t follow me to the coffee shop. It’s just me and my story. I am pleasantly distracted by passersby, not deterred by them. It’s easier to day dream in a public place, with no other activities vying for your attention. Just a black biro and a blue notebook. I’m an old fashioned girl so everything is handwritten before the laptop is even considered. My blogs posts get the same treatment. Notebooks allow you to jump across a range of ideas, creating wacky spider diagrams as you go. The ink stains on my fingers feel like proof of my miniscule achievements. I may be sitting in a suburban coffee shop, but my mind is travelling miles.

As for the story, I had another glorious epiphany today, just as my coffee was turning to dregs. I now understand the reason why my villain is just so. His motivations and goals clicked and everything is beginning to shine through the preliminary fog. My character was able to talk to me because my mind was free of domestic clutter that exudes when I try and write at home. I’m comfortable with embracing a cliché if it means creating an original story.

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One thought on “Fitting in to stand out

  1. The coffee obviously gets your brain in gear, this is a beautifully eloquent Blog post, you had me enthralled.

    And yes, I too like the anonymity of the coffee shop and hiding behind a large skinny latte, (no capitals with me, just coffee), but I prefer to let my mind wander and leave pen and paper at home, hoping with every fibre I can muster that I will recall at a later date the characters and scenarios I witness, and pray that the eloquence that rings through my head will surface again when I sit at the computer.

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