I got Scrivener installed in my recently acquired first laptop. I recently tried to start my first ever article at a coffee shop. Am I a poser and should ‘get thee home’? Or am I too self-conscious and should just stick it out?


Your signature gives you the answer already. :wink:

Iain, I use my laptop in a cafe everyday at lunch time. In over 12 months, I’ve only had one comment (and that was from someone who wanted my laptop - it’s so spunky!).

So suck it up and stick it out.

When writing, it is important to be in a place where you can be inspired. Comfort may not be necessary, but if you are so uncomfortable that you cannot write; cannot be inspired, then you are in the wrong place. To hell with what everyone around you thinks, unless what they think is distracting you too much. Sometimes it is frustrating because I’ll find a place and manner of writing that is good for me, but there is some other element that is making the whole thing distracting.

I find writing on a Palm Pilot with a fold-able keyboard to be nearly perfect for just writing on the go. The whole thing fits into a purse; I can type at full speed; and the device itself is simple enough to propel me forward. Unfortunately, the sight of somebody using this setup is so unusual that I get constant interruptions from people asking me what I’m doing, and what I’m using! I could just use headphones and tune out the world, but part of what I like about writing in a public place is that the interactions between people; the way they look; it all gives me great ideas. Plugging myself into a music world would remove that, and I might as well be writing at home.

So while a laptop is much less convenient and focussed, because it is common sight to see somebody sitting in a coffee shop or park with one, I don’t get bothered.

Anyway, if you are writing in a coffee shop because you’ve seen others do it, or you’ve been advised that it is a great place to write, but find it just isn’t compatible with who you are – find something else! The wonderful thing about writing is that you can do it nearly anywhere. With waterproof paper and a pencil, you can write in a storm; not many of the other arts are so versatile.

Finally, an adage that we as city humans are prone to forget: Nobody is watching you. It might not actually be true in every situation, but for the most part – nobody cares or even notices you. If you can get over the self-awareness and just write, you might the merit in such public places.

Totally agree. Still got mine. But I stopped using it “in public” because I was constantly interrupted by people asking what it was. I still use it for reading (ebooks) on the bus, however.


I know the feeling: I get a little self-conscious writing in coffee shops as well. But the sense that I’m some kind of poser is overwhelmed by two factors.

  1. I’m getting paid to write, so technically, not so much with the posing.


  1. The following thought: “I. Have. To. Get. Out. Of. This. Fucking. House.â€

Ha! I just figured out what this topic was really about. Really, I didn’t quite get the gist of your original post. So you are saying you feel self-conscious writing at a coffee shop? That would never even have occurred to me. I have regular places I go, lugging around my bag full of books and computer and thermoses of tea (fodder for another thread). I order up my tasty bit and take a seat for the next several hours. I consider my favorite hang-outs to be the ‘office’ where I work!

However, when I was in college, I used to work at home and at the library and that was all. Everywhere else was too distracting. Then for years I could only write at home with no one and nothing around me. Had to have complete quiet. Now I am like Sean Coffee, sometimes I have to get the ‘f’ out the house and the noise and people are somehow comforting!

Who the heck knows why this changes, but it does. I know some writers who work in one kind of environment all the time. But me, it’s like Amber says, whatever works. And that seems to change for me at different points in my life and when I’m doing different kinds of writing.

So forget about what anyone else thinks! Do what feels right and if it’s writing in a coffee shop, go for it!


To the coffe house it is then. Just on weekends mind you.

My new/old hometown rolls up it’s sidewalks at 5PM and the only thing left is Tim Hortons (Dunkin Donuts to our American friends). Timmy’s is too bright to relax in for me. With work keeping me till 4 to 5 PM nightly and a 50 minute commute plus Dad waiting for dinner and so on and so on, it’s home during the week.

Thank you for the responses and yes ‘halfbaked’ can very well mean not ready for primetime. Someday/maybe if I keep at it.


Coffee shops were made for writing!

Generally I work at home, never at a desk. I use my laptop the way god
intended — on my lap. But sometimes, like Sean, I have to get out of the
house. That’s one of the times that coffee shops come to the rescue. Best
part? Whenever I get stuck (not an infrequent occurrence), I just have to
lift my eyes from the screen for a thousand inspirations.

I also travel a lot, so writing on the road is a necessity. Again, coffee
shops, donut shops, hotel lounges, even airport “lounges” (have to use the
word loosely, unless I can find one of my frequent flier club lounges) can
transform into pretty decent offices, as long as I have my lap with me.

I’ve even learned how to write on planes. If I’m lucky, I fly Biz, where
setting up the PowerBook is (usually) no problem, but when I fly cattle
class, I find the accommodations to be Powerbook prohibitive. In those
cases, I whip out my Neo. Not as small as a Palm, of course, but the
keyboard is wayway better, and though it’s a little unusual looking, not too
many people ask me what I’m doing. If you don’t need structures and are
just spilling out the words, you can’t beat the Neo. Rugged as hell.
Batteries last 700 hours. And no screen to break when the schmuck in
front of you decides to slam his seat back (what are these people thinking

Best to you, Dr. Baked.