Changing up your work environment

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

I wrote a good portion of this week’s blog while sitting at Panera Bread with 3 people I had just met. This was my first meet-up for writing and it’s called “Shut Up and Write.” The premise is to dedicate a certain amount of uninterrupted time to writing. In this case, it was an hour.

Prior to coming here, I wondered if I could really get any work done in a public place. In school, I had never been one of those people who could study in a noisy area. I always found a quiet, out of the way spot in the library or an empty classroom where there would be complete silence and no distractions.

There are multiple reasons why people gravitate to public areas to do their work:

  • Some crave the interaction with other people.
  • Some need to get away from the distractions at home.
  • Others may need the Wi-Fi available.

For me, I needed a venue outside my home to get away from the distractions of my dogs and the chores that never seem to go away. Plus, I thought it would be interesting to see if sitting with other writers would motivate me to write for one solid hour.

What are some pros to working at a public place?

There are definitely some benefits to working outside of one’s home.

  • It gives you social interaction. Writing is a solitary profession … at least it can be. So, sometimes it’s good to get out and mingle with others.
  • It can relieve boredom.
  • It can energize you.
  • It can stir your creative juices and perhaps give you ideas that you hadn’t thought of before.

What are some cons of working at an outside venue?

  • One serious downside that I found was that the Wi-Fi was significantly slower than the Internet speed I have at home!
  • Etiquette dictates that you buy something at the venue. It may just be a few dollars for a cup of coffee, but it adds up!
  • The particular venue I was in, Panera Bread, has a lot more yummy treats than my pantry and refrigerator. That’s always a risky thing for me!
  • Using public Wi-Fi rather than my secure connection at home made me more vulnerable to snooping.

How did it go for me?

Over all, I would give changing my work environment a thumbs up. I really enjoyed meeting other people who enjoy writing. Each of us had different goals and styles but it was nice to share with them where I am headed and what I am trying to accomplish. Also, being surrounded by these writers who were diligently writing kept me focused. Watching 2 people scribbling furiously in their notebooks while the other banged away at his keyboard actually compelled me to write! Hmmm, does that make me competitive???

It was helpful to get away from my dogs. As much as I love them, they are definitely a distraction for me.

I was able to disengage from all the conversations around me which was one of the things I was worried about. Though I was able to write a good portion of today’s blog, I did struggle when I attempted to write verses for my next book. Since all of my recent writing time has been spent on this blog and on query letters to publishers, I found it difficult to switch modes.

I will definitely give this meetup another try, but I may change the location so I can meet other people as well.

Question: Have you tried working in a public location? How did it work out for you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Changing up your work environment

    • Scones and pastries are a weakness of mine! I can totally turn down chocolate but put a blueberry scone in front of me and I’m in trouble! 😉

  1. I have worked at a coffee shop many times and I like it. Since I’m alone so much of the time, I like being around other people even though I’m not talking to them. Weird how that makes me feel more social. Doesn’t really make sense.

    • I think just being around people even if you’re not talking to them makes you feel less like a loner. I get wrapped up with doing things around the house and am totally fine with being alone but on occasion I find that I need that interaction.

  2. I love working in a public place as long as what I’m working on doesn’t require intense concentration. I used to meet a friend at a coffee shop once a week. We’d spend the first half hour catching up and then next two focused on work. I felt connected and productive at the same time.