March 22, 2004

writing in cafes

John Scalzi has some very cogent advice for writers. Not so much about writing but rather about attitude. About jealousy and arrogance and not being an ass. He's dead-on. It's hard, though. Hubris usually masks a deep-seated insecurity. Jealousy comes from a gnawing feeling that you'll never get to be in that successful person's shoes. These are tough emotions to combat. But I think in order to become that successful writer (and how you define success is up to you), you need to get over that hangdog snap-and-growl. Get over yourself, you could say. And excising jealousy is a good start.

Oh, but the writing-in-coffeeshops thing? I agree and disagree. I do think a lot of posturing goes on and in most cases not much real writing. But when I drop Damian off at noon and have to loiter in Santa Monica until his three p.m. pickup, I head to the library or a local cafe where I write with my headphones on and try to block out the world. On those days, it's usually the only writing time I have. Use it or lose it. So I use it.

Would I rather be at home? Well, yeah. Then I wouldn't have to overhear annoying conversations full of hot air about the film business or contend with random wet-socks body odor or inhale secondhand smoke through the open door. But I've also grown to like this time. I can't get up to go to the kitchen, I can't find chores or errands to do. I have to sit in a chair and focus on the screen. Sometimes I amaze myself by what comes out.

Posted by Tamar at March 22, 2004 10:37 PM