Home isn’t always the best place for me to get serious writing time in. I’ve heard this from other writers, too—the audible sighing of the refrigerator wherein goodies lie in wait, the laundry that rustles in the hamper, the skittering of dust bunnies under the bed. And these days, when the deadline for my new book (Wild Women, Wild Voices) looms over me like the leggy philodendron on my bookshelf and I need to get some serious work done, I’ve been loading up my laptop and hitting the road. In the past two weeks my writing and I have encamped in so many different locations, it’s beginning to feel like a moveable feast, except it’s more like a feast that’s in early preparation stages, all potatoes to peel and lettuce to wash.
One delightful stop: the Central Library. Finally, finally, San Diego has a world-class main library; it’s located in the East Village downtown. My friend Ellen and I ensconced ourselves in a study room on the 8th floor with our laptops, notebooks, and a view over the bay to the beautiful sweep of the Coronado Bridge. I went back again a few days later. The library offers two hours free parking in the underground garage, except during Padres home games.
Lestat’s Coffee House is one of my favorite cafes in San Diego. Well, two of my favorite cafes since they have locations in Normal Heights and in University Heights. Our Thursday Writers group meets at the Normal Heights cafe, so on Thursdays, I go early, grab a table in the big room with the statue of winged victory and the red velvet lounging sofa.
Weekends I like Lestat’s on Park though it’s often so crowded you have to take a walk-through before you order your coffee to make sure you can get a table. The main room has what must be a 25-foot sofa covered in something that looks like ostrich or crocodile, and there are peahens painted on the walls of one of the bathrooms. Many mirrors, too. I like Lestat’s owner John Husler’s aesthetic and sense of humor. Good coffee and eats, too and all those other writers writing.
Ellen and I have also set up shop at her dining room table a couple of Monday mornings and though we’re sitting across from each other with no more than a few feet between us, we’re both head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone, as it were, and can go for a couple of hours without even speaking, just writing. I’ve been a long-time advocate of writing alone/writing together, but I still haven’t been able to say exactly what it is about writing with someone else that intensifies attention and focus. I just know it works.
San Diego Writers, Ink offers open studio time to members a couple of times each week. Each day is hosted by a different SDWI volunteer/writer. You can go Tuesdays before Brown Bag and Friday mornings. Always, The Ink Spot is filled with good writerly mojo. I go sometimes and set myself up at the fish tables along with a couple of other writers. We grin hello then get to work.
Next door to The Ink Spot at Liberty Station is Inspirations Gallery. Jill Hall is owner-artist-writer and all-around generous person. Sometimes she invites me to come write with her in the gallery’s off-hours. The Yee Haw Western Wonders show is up now and it does my wild women good to be surrounded by all that western influence. Keeps the wild alive as I work.
But even with all these options, I’m trying to train myself to ignore all the mumbling and skitterings that go on in my apartment and stay home to work. At home I have all my research material close at hand and a never-empty pot of coffee. Plus I can wear my lounge wear (some might say pajamas).
What’s your style? Go out or stay at home? Do you have a writing room or writing studio at home where you can ensconce yourself? ? If you go out, do you wear headphones to muffle the noise? Do you like to write alone or with someone else?