The Moveable Feast; A Guide to Writing in Cafes

Writing in Cafes; The Ups and Downs

Sydney is a landscape of Cafes and coffee shops.  For most people in Sydney they will go to a cafe every single day.  But what are they for?  Are Cafes exclusively for people who are drinking coffee and nothing else?  Are Cafes just for the time wasters?  Are Cafes just for leisure?  I am writing this article right now in a café.  Which is only appropriate.  But am I being appropriate.

I am working right now, in a cafe, and many might want to roll down their windows as they drive past and yell at me to get an office!  But what if I were on Facebook right now – wasting time doing a leaisurely activity? Would I still be shunned for for laptop in a public recreational space?

Writing in Cafes, Emerging Writers, Writing in Australia

I work in a café now in Redfern, saving money as I continue to work on writing.  We have many writers and bloggers coming in and staying for a while.  They bring their laptops and their satchel bags and order a latte and settle in.  We don’t have free internet there and we know that people who bring there laptops tend to be doing ‘real’ work not just playing on the internet.  Not Facebook.  So should we kick them out, for being productive and abusing the privilege afforded the purchase of a single latte.

I say people should go for it.  As long as they are not taking up a table way too big for them.  They are no more a nucence then the mothers who buy one Baby chino and then have five people come and clean it up (how is that profitable??)  To say you cannot work in a cafe is to say that coffee is only for people with nothing better to do.  And who needs coffee more than writers??

How to turn your Café into your Office

The best approach to turning your local cafe into a part time office, is to just ask them.  Some cafes don’t mind if you work for a while and others do.  Don’t try and guess as to wether you are welcome or not, just ask.  Find out where you are going to be most welcome and head there to buy your coffee.

Tips from a waitress.

  • Always make sure you buy enough coffee to support the seat you are taking up.
  • Don’t ask if you can plug into the wall to charge up.  Its bad enough the cafe is not making very much money of us writers, we shouldn’t cost them anything.
  • Always be happy and smiley.
  • The best times to go are between the main meals.  Morning or afternoon tea times.
  • Understand that you might be moved, and be willing to move to a table with just one stool if you must.
I write at my work, and at a cafe called Cow and Moon at the moment.  They only sell coffee, so I know I am never taking up a lunch table.

Malcolm Gladwell, That Jerk at the Cafe?; The Problem with Writing in Coffee Shops 


by Meg

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