The Economics of Writing

I have this stereotype of a writer I cling to: sitting in a small cafe for hours, hunched over a journal writing, while sipping some form of expensive hot drink from time to time (or wine, which goes better with the fact that I’d really like the cafe to be in Paris). A small part of me still believes you can’t call yourself a true writer until you do that.

As with most of my dreams, however, this one gets hit by a reality check all the time. I am your basic introvert with one quirk: I love to be in crowds. Oh, I don’t want to interact with them, at least not beyond a smile and a few words of chitchat. I think that’s why I love them. They are strangers demanding nothing more of me than basic courtesy.

And I enjoy getting out somewhere to do my writing, somewhere where I can’t see the dishes or the laundry or all the other little things that can pull me away from writing. So I keep trying to find the perfect spot to sit and write. But experience taught me small cafes have a number of limitations:

  • they are very expensive
  • most of those hot drinks they sell contain coffee
  • I hate coffee

Most of them don’t have the noise either, at least not beyond quiet, polite chatter. When I first got serious about my writing, I would sit in a local diner. It was the most creative atmosphere I’ve ever found. There were kids running around, families arguing, waitresses calling orders back. It was awesome. And it was cheap. Which was excellent because more often than not I was broke. The gas money it took to get there was about all I had to spend.

When my finances got somewhat better, I started looking for one of my dream cafes, where artists of all kind would gather and the creativity vibes would reverberate around the room. Yet the writing I did fell far short of my diner journals.

Thanks to my grandchildren, I have become well acquainted with McDonald’s. It’s full of noise of all kinds, kids running around yelling, all the things you’d think would prevent any focus on writing at all. I even got to watch two old men almost come to blows the other day.

But I’m finally ready to admit I do my best work there. And it’s cheap. I can grab a coke for a dollar, there’s an abundance of excellent character material right in front of me and as long as I don’t start a fight, they don’t appear to want to throw me out. I wonder if they have McDonald’s in Paris?

14 thoughts on “The Economics of Writing”

  1. Sounds like a plan! And yes, they do have a MacDonald’s in Paris, several, but certainly would make your writing far more expensive what with the flights, the hotels …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, by the time I paid for the flight I might have to spend the time there just hanging out at McDonald’s. But I still dream. You may read an article one day about this old American woman who comes everyday and sits in the Paris McDonald’s. They think she lives in the park the rest of the time.


    1. I don’t think I could write in a busy, noisy place like McDonalds. But I love your blog. I write in my home office with no one here to disturb me except our two cats (who disturb me constantly by laying on my notes, stepping on the computer keys, laying on my arm as I’m typing). I have no guilt over not doing the laundry. 🙂

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      1. What’s funny is I hear people say all the time they write to music and I can’t do that. If I have music going I end up just singing along, lol. I can’t focus. But if it’s noise like background noise, I’m good.


      2. My dog keeps wanting to sit in my lap while I write when I do it at home. He doesn’t seem to know he’s not the little puppy I used to let do that anymore.


  2. Odd, though I’ve never thought of MacDonald’s, or other eatery, as a perfect place to sit and write, I do get a lot of my plot points (as I like to call them) compiled while I’m waiting at the hospital or doctor’s offices for/with multiple family member’s appointments. I seem to be there a lot the past few years. The TV, phone ringing, talking, and other miscellaneous noises that take place there doesn’t seem to bother me, probably because none of it has anything to do with me and I can simply shut it all out 🙂


  3. I hate coffee, too, except the smell! Love the smell. Ah, Paris… I write with music on but couldn’t see me writing in a public place. I jump when I’m in the story and one of my family comes into the room. Cute blog, Debra. Sorry I’m so late here.

    Liked by 1 person

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