I Used to Write in Busy, Noisy Cafés. Now I’m Writing Alone in Silence.
Three aids are helping me stay productive through the quiet of the quarantine
For years I wrote at home, alone at my desk, trying to force myself to tune out distractions that were all around me — the phone, the housework, the pets, and, oh yeah, the work I was supposed to do to actually pay the bills. There were too many days when I was lucky just to string together 100 words and too many months when I couldn’t successfully work those 100-word chunks into anything cohesive.
Then several years ago I found a solution that really clicked for me. I joined a group called Shut Up & Write!® and started meeting with other writers in cafés for scheduled writing sessions. Everything about it worked for me. It got me out of the house. I met other writers and had an opportunity to chat with them and exchange updates about our works in progress. The busyness of the cafés and the collective energy of the other writers fired me up and made me more productive. Signing up for the sessions forced me to take my writing time more seriously. I became accountable to the group — and more importantly, to myself — for showing up and getting my ass in the seat, ready to write, and when I did, writing inevitably got done.
That was the process I used to write my second gardening book, an e-book, several articles, countless blog posts, and a couple short stories. Then the coronavirus pandemic brought that process to a sudden halt when the shelter-in-place order went into effect, forcing restaurants and cafés to close and discouraging people from gathering in groups. I had to find a new way to write.
Is the Best Place to Write Tucked Between the Sheets?
It’s not lazy to write in bed. It’s following in the tradition of some of literature’s greatest writers.
Finding new tools for productivity
For the first weeks of the quarantine, I struggled to write at home the same way I used to write in cafés with my Shut Up & Write!® group, but it wasn’t working. In cafés I got used to writing in the middle of a certain amount of hustle and bustle, so I tried turning…