Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday afternoon café experimentation

After reading the discussion on productive writing strategies over at Bitch PhD a while ago, I decided to try out an approach that lots of people have suggested: the lurk-in-a-café-until-I-get-something-done strategy.

So this afternoon I packed my laptop and a few indispensable reference sources and headed into Starbucks to see what I could get written. And then, y'know, because I'm so thoughtful and all, I thought I'd report back my experience for my multitude of reader (that's you, Axis of Peter).


  1. Conveniently close to home, and free parking on Sundays
  2. Endless supplies of yummy drinks (if I had endless supplies of money and endless bladder capacity -- see point #3 under "cons")
  3. No internet distractions. Not at the prices they charge for access.
  4. Free cake samples!
  5. They didn't kick me out or glare even a little bit, despite the fact I sat there for four hours nursing one cup of coffee

  1. Loud, distracting music. I'm one of those people who work best to the melodious strains of silence.
  2. No air conditioning. But then my office doesn't have any either.
  3. No working toilet. This at least limited the damage done to my wallet -- no way was I having more than one coffee without a loo in reach.
  4. I kept getting distracted by all the rows of pretty cakes

In summary, it greatly increased my Sunday afternoon productivity (from none at all to completing a thesis section). I think it's worth developing into a habit, and maybe on the weekends when I'm not feeling pressured to work on the thesis, my attempts at novelling (and/or myriad unfinished computer programs) could benefit from the same approach.

So yay for that.


shrinkykitten said...

Can you listen to your own music while there? That's the good thing about having a mac. All I have to do is power up itunes and plug in my headphones, and I can listen to whatever I want.

You could also get a catheter! :)

StyleyGeek said...

True. Both points :) I really find it hard to work with ANY music happening, though. And if it's stuff I know and like, that's almost worse, because it distracts me and sends me into daydreaming about whatever it is I associate with the music. My older collections, for example, make me all homesick for the place(s) I lived when I first listened to them a lot.

But maybe I could find something white-noisy and listen to it on my own headphones instead. I've heard you can get noise-cancelling headphones, but I've got no idea how they work.

shrinkykitten said...

I totally get the music thing. I created a playlist in itunes of music I can zone out to. It has to be music I know so well that the lyrics don't hit me anymore, and that have no real emotional weight. Mozart's requiem works well, as does some Moby music, etc.

I think noise canceling headphones are really expensive. I would imagine they'd need to make a tight seal to your ears, which might make them really warm and moist. Eeuuuwwww.

Billie said...

I hear you about the 'bucks, though. The music can be loud. I've found that I ask them to turn it down just a tad, they will. But I've also found that I just get use to it.