It always seems a romantic idea to be the kind of writer who sits in a café, writing materials spread across the table, watching the world go by, working through numerous cups of coffee as the masterpiece novel takes shape – you get the picture. Thus were the Harry Potter stories born to J K Rowling, so the story goes. There is much to be said for this approach, compared to, say, sitting alone at home writing.
Now, I am fortunate in having a perfectly nice little room to use as a study, and I’ve written three novels in it, too – but it’s very easy to be distracted from the writing process by household chores, the internet, the garden, the internet, phone calls, the internet, other people in the house, and, er, the internet. So having a place to visit where you can write, uninterrupted, in a stimulating setting, is a bonus, even if you only go occasionally. It’s even better, if, like me, you can combine the visit with a healthy walk in the fresh air. I say fresh air – but in my case this might be more of a driving gale, with or without horizontal rain, because my café is set right on the Chesil Beach. Still, I love it – light and airy atmosphere, great coffee and a very fine outlook down the length of the Fleet Lagoon. Busy, but not overcrowded – the perfect retreat for a writer, particularly one as fond of nature and landscape as I am. I take just a notebook and pen, and it’s perfect.
Do I really need a café to write in, though? No, not really. But it felt like an encouraging way to make some progress with my current book. And I do need to do that. Life sometimes delivers us a smart kick in the rear end – a reminder to stop making excuses and get on with the things we truly want to do. I received just such a reminder recently, and finding the café is my first step in responding to it. I’ll aim to get there two, maybe three times a week over the autumn and winter, and write a minimum of five hundred words per visit. 1500 words a week isn’t much, but it is progress.
Will it help me achieve J K Rowling-like success for this book? Probably not. But I’ll enjoy every visit to the ‘office’, and perhaps, at long last, I’ll feel like a proper writer.