Friday, June 25, 2010

Avoid Eye Contact

I need to find a new place to write.

Before Baby Boy came along, I was perfectly happy writing in my bedroom. It was relatively quiet (when Big Boy went to school at least), nicely decorated (even if I do say so myself) and had all the internet access a girl could ask for. Of course ,the quiet factor changed dramatically once Baby Boy came along. In fact, I’m pretty sure people two towns over can hear the noise from my house now.

So, I had to find a new writing venue. Since I as stopping at Starbucks for mass amounts of caffeine to combat The Baby That Will not Sleep anyway, I figured I’d settle in and write there. It only took me three weeks to figure out how to get free WiFi with my Stabucks card, and having caffeine readily available has been a godsend. Not to mention the yummy food they now serve. (I recommend the spinach feta wrap.) It’s not exactly quiet here, but at least no one is saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom, MOM!” In fact, I kinda dig the music selection they play here,

So why, you may ask, do I need to find a new place to write?

Here's the thing – I can’t just write with my nose to the computer screen. I have to stop and think now and then. I type like crazy, pause, look up, contemplate my characters’ next move, then go right back to typing furiously. And it’s in the look up and contemplate moments that I’m getting in trouble,

For example…

The ohter day I’m typing way. I get to pivotal point in my scnee. I look up, start the contemplation thing. My eyes wander over the room, not really seeing anything, but kinda just looking around. They rest on this guy across the room. He looks up, sees me, makes eye contact. I smile (cause it’s only polite once you’ve made accidental eye contact, right?) Big mistake. He walks over and asks what I’m working on. I say I’m writing a book. VERY big mistake! He sits down at my table, wants to know all about the book, then proceeds to tell me his life story and why I should write a book about him.

Half an hour of my precious writing time this guy wastes! I know, I could have just told him to take a hike. I should have pointed out that I write murder mysteries, so if I write about him, I’ll have to kill him. But he sounded lonely and I just couldn’t be that mean. Instead, I finally faked a phone call (“What’s that you say? The house is on fire? I’m on my way home!”), packed up my stuff and left.

I could chalk this up to an isolated incident, but it’s the third time this week it’s happened. Bottom line, I need to find a less friendly place to write. Somewhere where no one knows your name, where people mind their own business, they dislike and fear each other. Any suggestions?

~Trigger Happy Halliday


Jenyfer Matthews said...

How about the library? They would at least have internet access and (relative) quiet, but you'd probably have to bring your own caffeine.

I couldn't begin to work in a Starbucks - I too want to look around and listen in on other people's conversations. Making eye contact is no problem because apparently I have the ability to send looks that kill, LOL

Jana DeLeon said...

Any public place that serves food is likely to get you the same response. I write in my favorite cafe on weekends, but unfortunately, the regulars know I'm published and everyone seems to think they need to comment on my book, how's the next book, ask about my netbook, do I own a Nook, am I buying an ipod touch, etc. And they're all old and retired - they have NOTHING better to do than bother me with their whole day stretching in front of them like a vast wasteland.

I suggest wearing sunglasses inside. Then you'll look like either a kook or an a-hole (since mostly only a-holes wear sunglasses inside) and no one can tell who you're looking at.

BTW - I do the same thing when I'm thinking and inevitably, there's someone in my line of sight who thinks I'm staring when I actually have never seen them.

Kathy Bacus said...

I ran into the same trouble, Gemma, but it was with teens and their friends in the house. That's when I converted one-half of the garage which had been a TV/VCR repair shop in its former life, to new writing digs. It works out perfectly. I'm close enough to the house to get the WIFI signal, it has a big front window I can look out, and has a door I can shut. I'm just out back so I'm close enough to run to the house for 'necessaries' and there's even room for a small dorm-sized refrigerator. Since that isn't an option for you, I also take my laptop to a nearby county park and--yes, a cemetary. There's a pond with park benches that's perfect for a couple of hours of solitary writing. I must confess. When I'm up against it and needing a few days uninterrupted writing, I've also checked into a nearby hotel for a couple nights. Whatever works!


TerriOsburn said...

I was going to say the library too, but ours has a really cool little cafe at the front so you'd have the quiet, the wifi, and the caffiene.

I turned my dining room into a writing room, but my kiddo is pretty good about leaving me alone. Now and then, she'll stroll in and ask how it's going. Depending on how it's going determines whether she gets a smile or singed. :)

Zita said...

How about the lobby of your local police station? =)

Suzan Harden said...

Oh, Gemma. Haven't you heard Starbuck's or the B&N Cafes are the new pick-up places? LOL

I'm 100 lbs. overweight and in my mid-forties. I make no effort to look nice when I go to these places. Yet invariably when I'm typing furiously, some guy will come up to me with the same opening line. "Are you connected to the wi-fi? I'm having a little trouble."

I highly recommend Denny's from 2-4 on weekdays. Few kids, fewer single men.

Gemma Halliday said...

Okay, Denny's is an option! I have tried the park, but I like to write in 4 hours stretches and my laptop only lives unplugged for 2 hours max. So, short stretches are good outdoors (especially when the weather is nice like now!), but inevitably I end up at Starbucks recharging again. Though, maybe I’ll try the indoor sunglasses thing! I was thinking maybe I need heavier eyeliner or something “less friendly” looking.

Unfortunately, our library sucks. It’s tiny, smells like mold, and it’s a homeless hangout. They’ve been threatening to renovate it for years, but no luck so far. :(

Gemma Halliday said...

How about the lobby of your local police station? =)?

Interesting idea! I wonder... I may look into somewhere like that. I'm sure I'd get some great inspiration too!


krisgils33 said...

You got hit on 3 times at starbuck's in one week???? Cool!! I'd spend all day every day there just for the ego boost!! hahahaha

Gemma Halliday said...

Lol Kris! Yeah, why this never happened when I was single, I don't know...


(P.S. I'm writing this from Starbucks right now and concentrating on avoiding all eye contact. I'm also wearing dark sunglasses. ;) )

Phyllis Bourne said...

Stick with Starbucks, but pick up Bose noise cancellation headphones. They won't give you silence, but muffle/reduce noise.

I pop them on in Starbucks, but don't connect them to anything. People leave you alone 'cause they think you're listening to something.

Susan Thompson said...

Take me with you. I'll deal with the men for ya. ;)