Nervous Café writing


Excuse the half formed sentences I was Café writing…

I begin this blog post as I sit in a Café, one of my low key favs; (Finsbury Park Café). After a year of Café writing on a regular basis there are still unpredictably dingy days where I struggle to write anything other than a stream of consciousness. I’ll admit it; I am a ‘nervous café writer’.

There is definite skill to writing in public, first; becoming oblivious to all around you, that baby screaming, the slow jazz playing and the people speaking Italian/Arabic (?!) on the next table. This is a hard switch to flick for most of us writers, as generally we are hard-wired observers.

As if that wasn’t enough Café adversity to overcome after 15 mins of successful writing you let the ridiculous notion creep in that you have outstayed your welcome. ‘I should buy another drink’ you think, ‘they are a business after all’.  STOP, don’t dig yourself deeper into that extortionate cappuccino debt that all the writing in the world couldn’t repay, no need…

Here are some reassurances for the nervous café writer, all of which I remind myself of on a regular basis…

You are an essential part of the furniture, every café needs a resident writer, you are good for business, you create ambiance, in fact they should be paying YOU to be there… relax.

No one can read what you are writing; they can only see your fingers moving and a mass of text. Write what you want about them, make them characters in your best selling novel and then kill them off, they will never know.

Daydreaming is not the sin of all sins… you see a woman struggling with a difficult toddler, your future; ‘How will I cope chained to my laptop with a toddler hanging off me, how will I café write! I will be stuck in the house forever.’ Having empathy for strangers and being able to capture the essence of someone from a moment’s observation is a writer’s skill, hone it, daydream away and don’t berate yourself, more often than not a passing daydream will lead to a great idea.

Warm-up. Write something short and sweet to get your brain going. For every lengthy essay/article/novel I write I have a Writing log, where I begin by explaining my mood and surroundings and why exactly I am struggling/cant be arsed to start writing. This usually makes it apparent what’s stopping me and clears that mental block. (This can also be amusing to re-read afterwards.)

And as for Wi-Fi passwords… my advice, live in unconnected ignorance, 3G is sufficient to get you any information you need on your phone. If you do choose to connect just remember… what’s known can never be unknown…or you could always delete the Wi-Fi key (but it’s unlikely you will). Many a writing sanctuary has been stripped of it’s magic with the introduction of Wi-Fi, beware.

Give yourself a break. Like revision you need a break every 20-30 minutes. Don’t expect constant concentration from yourself, it’s unobtainable.

You will become oblivious to your surroundings; you will write through a busy lunch hour without realising. Good Luck.


And the bubble burst; going to take a daydreaming break, see you later.

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