So this evening was spent gossiping and catching up with good friend Bits (also previously known as S). Every week, as I probably have mentioned endlessly, we converge on Caffé Nero in the local Waterstones to have a good old catch-up. But, no, this is not a gossipy post (or blog in general). I would like to talk about the coffees/teas/hot chocolates that fuel a writer.
Also, as previously mentioned, I’m partial to a bit of Starbucks… peppermint hot chocolate, hazelnut hot chocolate, a frappuccino or two, their gluten-free hazelnut and chocolate loaf… Costa I could take or leave, frankly. And Starbucks is also a popular meeting-place for Mums and those four-wheeled weapons also known as pushchairs. So, the retreat has always been Caffé Nero. I say always, this is a recent discovery.
My love for Waterstones is inevitable – I spent a very happy year working for them in Bath, and I spend hours and hours gazing at all those shelves of books. I get to know all the Waterstones stores very well, and can pretty much navigate the local one with my eyes shut. This one in question has a Nero upstairs. It’s not big, but it’s decent enough to have a private conversation and a latte (the Nero drink of choice is the chai latte, and you can’t beat it). It also, wonder-of-wonders, has Wi-Fi.
I am one of those pathetic people with no proper internet at home. I have a white “dongle” that keeps insisting my limit has been met, and provides me with achingly slow internet, so slow in fact that I think I could do better with an army of hamsters in wheels. So I have a choice: put up with that and hope that it doesn’t really mean it when it says I’ve reached the limit, or go back to the parents’ house and drain it of internet.
Neither are particularly appealing.
To feed my NaNoWriMo/blogging/tweeting/Facebooking I have had to come up with ingenious methods. Nero, hidden in the corner of a bookshop, is one of them. What Bits doesn’t realise (though she will now) is that I actually cheat on her with Nero… some evenings and weekends I pack up my trusty laptop (it’s so shiiiiny) and lug it over to Waterstones, and sit there with a chai latte and WRITE. I write to my heart’s content (until I get kicked out).
My fellow writers: how many of you are sitting with your laptops on your knee/in a darkened study because you can’t be bothered to switch on the light, with a mug of tepid tea or coffee or some such hot beverage next to you. Is it your first, third… thirtieth? How many times a day do you have to fuel up with caffeine before you can sit in front of that dreaded blank page and actually be creative?
So, think on this. You can go somewhere other than your living room sofa/darkened study, somewhere with BOOKS and leather sofas that are squishy, and do POSH HOT DRINKS, and use their Wi-Fi until they kick you out.
Yes, my friends, there are writer’s havens everywhere. You might look like that wanker in the corner of the coffee shop with his three-day-old stubble and posh laptop supping an espresso… but the Wi-Fi is FREE, and the drinks are POSH.
Happy NaNo-ing NaNo-heads. See you in the coffee shops.