Writing exercise 4: Ideal and non-ideal environments for writing

[The task was to imagine ideal and difficult conditions for writing spaces – I’ll let you guess which is which…]

He glanced over his shoulder for the third or fourth time in the past five minutes. His self-awareness began to verge on paranoia, he knew, but he couldn’t work like this! The deadline loomed and he’d written…how many words exactly? Oh… it was just the title. Sitting with his back to the room, facing the wall frustrated him beyond measure. Every few minutes someone would pass by to ask “how’s it coming?” or drop some entirely irrelevant piece of knowledge in his lap. Especially when he was in the middle of a thought! Argh. While his colleagues’ keyboards tiptapped away, he stared at the screen furiously. Eventually, he let out a sigh, stood up, grabbed his laptop and headed for the door. One day he would have his revenge…

The café buzzed with life. He smiled to himself, plugging his over-the-ear headphones into the laptop and finding some instrumental music. Slapping out a sentence, he leaned back in his chair, inhaling the scent of his freshly made coffee. He observed as people crowded into the shop or walked past the window, some of them giving him glances that said “what are you looking at?”. This was writing heaven; plenty of inspiration to draw from, and no one to recognise him (and hence distract him) aside from the café staff. What’s more, he’d been there so often recently, he had earned a free coffee! Could life get any better?

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