For the past few years I find that writing my first drafts flow much better while sitting in a coffeehouse, library or even my car.
I’m writing this piece in my 9-year-old Toyota Corolla parked at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful spring day. The sun is shining in a bright blue sky. People are walking, jogging, skating and riding their bikes on the promenade in front of me. My car windows are rolled down to let the cool breeze waft in. I’m sitting in my car’s passenger seat (the steering wheel gets in my way if I try to write in the driver’s seat). There’s a throw pillow on my lap, and on top of that is my 8 1/2″ x 11″ spiral notebook/journal. There is no phone to answer, no refrigerator to grab a snack from, no Internet or e-mail to get entangled in and no household or garden chores to distract. There’s just fresh air, my journal, a pen, people passing by and a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean before me.
I lead a very quiet existence, which, if you think about it, is necessary for a writer, except we humans are social by nature. To write first drafts outside of my house, even in my car, is a great treat for me because it gives me a chance to be among my fellow human beings while I’m doing what I love best.