Writing in Public

I recently read a post on Victoria’s blog about writing habits. In the post, Victoria confesses her hesitation to write in public places and it spawned an idea for a post on my own blog.

I used to write in public all the time. In high school, I was always scribbling something in the margin of my notebook and I didn’t care who looked at it or asked me about it because most of the time, nobody would ask. When I was in college, I’d do the same thing. I’d sit in a corner of the student lounge with my notebook in front of me and write like I would at home (except on paper instead of on a computer).

A few people would come up and talk to me or ask what I was doing. I’d tell them I was writing my story (which was XIII 90% of the time) and chances were, they wouldn’t ask for any further details. That’s why I never had a big fear of writing in public. If people had asked for more detail or asked to read my story, I would probably have freaked out.

Like the stereotypical writer, I have written in coffee shops before. And in fast food restaurants. And on picnic tables outside. It’s no big deal. But yes, people-watching can be distracting, although if you’re really into the story, the people and the world kind of fade away.

Do you write in public?

21 thoughts on “Writing in Public

  1. I write poems in public, and I outline works or think of ideas for blog entries or other short essays, but when it comes to more substantial writing, I tend to be too easily distract by people around me to really focus at it.


  2. I’ve tried it, sitting at a Starbucks at the local Barnes & Noble with a coffee. But I get distracted. Some of my good stuff was penned at home or in my university library. I need some quiet and the people around me shouldn’t be having any more fun than I am.


  3. I actually write more often than not in public. Mostly I do it to while away the time, waiting for a train or the next interesting conversation partner.

    Also I found it a good way to start a conversation… or at least spawn some curiosity what you are writing… Which is probably the hardest things to explain.

    On the other hand sometimes I have to be quite rude to people who would like to ask me questions and I am in a certain creative flow… All they get is a “sorry, not now.”


  4. I often write at home, but I do like writing in public. It motivates me to keep writing instead of surfing the internet because I have this silly belief that people will know I’m slacking off and judge me. Silly, but it works!


  5. I write pretty much wherever I am. Used to be on paper but now more often it’s on my tablet, or even on my phone (good for input, not so much for edits). Nobody has ever asked what I was doing, even when I was writing on paper.


    1. The only times anyone asked what was doing where in high school and college – I don’t think that in actual public (a restaurant or something) that anyone would ask.


        1. We were in community college, I was sitting in the student lounge writing (on paper, not with laptop) and he showed up and asked me what I was writing, so I told him basically what the plot was. He mentioned he liked similar types of stories, so we started chatting, and thus a friendship was born. ๐Ÿ™‚


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