Discovering Public Spaces

I’ll never be able to work from home.

I love the idea of being able to sit on the couch in my dressing gown and get a whole lot of work done. Maybe never is too strong a word. But at the moment, I can’t do it.

At home, there are too many distractions. The fridge is filled with the food I like. My favourite cafe’s are just down the road (which are also filled with the food I like). Netflix. Computer games. In-fact, let’s just say ‘unlimited internet access.’ They’re all there.

Changing the setting.

So I recently bought a laptop and moved my writing space to a public library. And it’s made a huge difference to my productivity. Getting up, getting dressed and commuting to somewhere makes me treat writing like a real job. I have to get there early to get a good seat, and once I’ve got that seat I don’t want to leave it in case I lose it.

And that, I suppose, is the trick. Getting to know yourself and being able to admit what your limitations are, and what you can do to overcome them. I would love to be able to sit around on the couch and get things done, but I’m just not there yet. Sometimes it goes against your instincts. In fact, I had to fight myself to get out the door the first few times. My mind told me that I’ll be fine writing from home! Don’t waste all that time commuting! The problem with that was every time I had listened to that voice, I would manage to find other things to do at home, to the point where I was doing very little (if any) writing at all.

Finding new ways to overcome resistance.

This, to me, is what Steven Pressfield is referring to as resistance in his book The War of Art . The concept is that there is this force that you have to overcome if you want to do anything creative. I think that as soon as you recognise it you can use it as a sort of internal compass: it shows you your true north by trying to pull you south. All you have to do is pull in the other direction, and you’ll become that thing you want to be. So when I feel the urge to stay home, I know it’s time for me to get out.

Which can be hard, but that’s the point. And besides, I prefer being around people anyway.