I’m currently at home, writing from my dedicated office space. As I’ve posted before, I divide my time between writing at my desk and writing remotely, usually at my favorite coffee shops around town. The advantages of writing at home, of course, are legion:
- Easy access to bathroom. As someone who drinks water constantly throughout the day, I like being able to do my bid-ness without having to worry about having my laptop stolen. At the coffee shop I generally wait until I’m just about to burst before hurriedly packing everything up and heading straight to the WC. Not especially elegant, but I hate having to pack up all the time just to go to the bathroom.
- Easy access to everything I need, from office supplies to reference books. Most of the reference books I use are actually online (Dictionary.com, Wikipedia.org, etc), but especially when I’m writing my research-heavy novel, I like having resources at my fingertips. My backpack can only carry so much reference material, and quite frankly I don’t like looking like I schlepped my entire home office to the cafe.
- Secure wireless. If I need to do some financial housekeeping (say, balancing my checkbook) or order something online, I do all of that at home.
- It’s a time- and gas-saver. Okay, the gas part doesn’t really bother me too much, as I have a small, fuel-efficient 1995 Geo Prizm that gets awesome mileage. However, the time part is critical, as I can easily spend up to an hour packing up my stuff, getting my own little self ready, loading up and warming up the car, driving over to the cafe (only 2 miles from my house, but lots of lights along the way), ordering-paying-for-and-waiting-for my cafe au lait, then settling myself onto a table. At home I can just open up my laptop, charge it up and go. I don’t even have to brush my hair.
- I can make business phone calls without worrying about disturbing others. Yes, I’m one of those people who loathe loud cell phone users in public facilities, so I’m not about to inflict the same torture on others. When I need to make a business phone call, such as an interview or follow-up with an editor or subject, I do it in my home office.
The advantages of writing at a remote office, however, are equally compelling:
- Possible increase in productivity. I fear that — despite its appeal — I’m actually less productive when writing in my pyjamas than if I were dressed for presentation in public (even jeans and a nice shirt). I actually haven’t tested this hypothesis, but I suspect that part of it is true. When my hair is a tangled nest around my head and I’m still in my husband’s boxers, I think I’m more apt to linger over Google Reader and Plurk than if I were to actually don real street clothes and work in a public place.
- It gets me out of the house. I have hermit-like tendencies, as most writers do, but even I need the anonymous companionship of other cafe denizens. I feed off their energy (and my usual go-to place, Traders on 7th and Patterson, overflows with laptop-wielding warriors during the day) and don’t feel so isolated, as I often do when I’m stuck in my home office for days.
- It helps me to keep to a schedule. When I’m at home, I sometimes find myself still lolling in bed at 10 am. Now, that doesn’t happen very often anymore, but I think it’s because I occasionally force myself to get out of the house, which necessitates that I get up earlier in order to take advantage of the daytime working hours. If I spend all day at home, it can be so bloody tempting to linger over breakfast or catch “just a half-hour or so” of Flight of the Conchords on DVD during the lunch hour. At the cafe I’m generally just working.
I don’t often work at a cafe and usually limit that time to 2-3 three-hour periods a week, either morning or evening. However, it’s a nice little change in environment, and it’s always good to get out and get the pulse of the community, even listen in on occasional conversations around me. (Yes, I do sometimes eavesdrop, and if the gab-fest is especially fascinating, I might even post the juiciest tidbits of it here.)
What about you? Where do you write best?