by James Batchelor
I'm a firm believer that where you write is as important as how, what and why.
Stephen King wrote in his semiautographical book On Writing that writers need a personal space of their own to write: a basement, a loft, a study. While most of us probably have that space, we might always have access to it due to work, family and all the other excuses we have for not writing that bestseller.
The answer is to find an alternative that sits with your daily schedule. For me, the only time I have is my lunch break. Since my office is a little too noisy, I have to find somewhere else to write.
The nearby library is perfect, but they don't let you bring in food (a man's still got to eat, after all!) and it's closed on Wednesdays (no ones knows why. Do people not read on Wednesdays?).
Costa is an option but I always feel obliged to pay for overpriced drinks, and even more obliged to clear out when I've finished them. The same goes for all the 'greasy spoon' cafes and sandwich bars in the area.
The wetherspoons is too noisy and my far-from-Herculean physique could do without more of their £5 burgers.
By process of elimination, I found my public writing space... in Sainsbury's cafe. It's big enough that no one notices me in the corner. And if I pick up cheap food from the store, I don't feel guilty for taking up a table.
Best of all, the cheapest food is the always-varied salad bar: a couple of pounds for a reasonably sized bowl of leaves, veg, rice, pasta, etc - far healthier than the usual slabs of cheese crammed between bread or the monstrosities I used to pick up from Subway.
The result is I can split my lunch break into fifteen to twenty minutes of buying/eating salad - and at least forty minutes of writing, enough to add up to 1,000 words to my total count.
A productive writing session, no pressure to cram in some novel time after work and gradual weight loss on top of it - that's the new 'where' of my writing.