Writing in a coffee shop...

Writing in a coffee shop... cliché?

It's almost become a cliché. Maybe it has now become a cliché - writer scribbling/tapping away in a busy coffee shop... but there's no denying it, many of us do get more work done like that.

New Scientist had a short feature recently on why that might be (which you can find here). They suggested that it might be related to the fact other people were busy that made you concentrate on work - almost a competitive aspect: "I can work harder than you can" perhaps. Or that the atmosphere of people concentrating hard influenced others to work hard too. In other words, just the sounds of a busy coffee shop wouldn't be enough (sorry Coffitivity... though I do quite like listening to your coffee shop sounds while I'm working at home!). You would actually need to be in a place with people working hard around you.

My theory is that it's because you're in public. Yes, you could be browsing away, reading Facebook, or entering the time-suck that is Twitter ("2 new Tweets" - oh I'd better click to see them), and it's your own business if you are... but, you went to the coffee shop to work and everyone and his brother can see that you're not doing any work at all! It doesn't matter that no-one cares what you're doing. You know you're bunking off and that makes you focus.

I don't go to write in a coffee shop all that often. When I do, it's usually for a change of scenery, to try and give myself a little writing boost. My reasoning is: if it goes well, I get some writing done. If it doesn't go well, I can at least people-watch and make notes on what they say/wear/order etc. so the afternoon won't be wasted.

What about others? Do you get lots done? Or do you get distracted?

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