Internet cafes provide a great way to break up the monotony of working from home. Here’s why it’s important for writers to get out of the house.
There’s a cafe on the corner of Main Street and Eighth Avenue where I used to work during the winter. They have decent coffee, great hot chocolate, and a mostly vegetarian lunch menu that I never touch because it’s annoyingly expensive. And they have wifi. That, honestly, is the main reason I was always up there.
I haven’t been up there for a while, mostly because of COVID. But I had to spend most of last week in their outside area when we lost power, and it was surprising how much easier writing became when I was outside facing Main Street with a cup of coffee.
I’m lucky that this job wasn’t vulnerable to COVID, and that I can work from home these days. Still, I can’t wait to be able to sit down at an internet cafe again, for three reasons.
The Background Stimulation
I think I’ve mentioned before that I have ADHD. One of the hallmarks of ADHD is that I’m usually at least a little under-stimulated, and this can make it really difficult for me to focus on anything long enough to type a sentence. The fact that blogging, by definition, involves sitting in front of the computer all day with unfettered access to the internet, really doesn’t help.
While some people might be worried about getting distracted at an internet cafe, others might actually benefit from a little distraction. There’s evidence that we do better work when we have a little bit of background stimulation, and that we tend to be more active and alert under brighter lights.
If you listen to music while you write, this is the same idea. It varies from person to person, of course – I know some writers who can’t write unless they’re in their own room with the door locked and their phone on silent. But if you’re anything like me, you might benefit from a little background noise now and then. Internet cafes can be a good place to get it.
It might be because I live on the Shore, but I seem to do my best writing when I’m outside. Maybe it has something to do with background stimulation – sunlight and breeze can be a good backdrop for writing. Maybe it’s just nice to get out of the house once in a while.
A lot of people are working from home these days, and while it’s definitely more convenient for some of us, it’s not healthy to be constantly alone or stuck inside. Internet cafes can provide a great way to do this, although my trips to Stay Gold aren’t really feasible anymore.
If you find yourself stuck inside while you’re working from home, it can help to work a daily walk into your routine or find another way to get some fresh air without spreading the virus to anyone.
Most of the writers I know, including myself, are pretty solitary creatures. Bloggers also tend to be introverts. While a big part of our job relies on social media, it’s always from behind the shield of the internet. Still, it’s not healthy – even for a diehard introvert – to spend all day alone.
If you live with your family or with a roommate, this may not be a problem for you. But if you’re living alone, being alone all the time can do serious damage to your mental health. It’s important, no matter how asocial you usually are, to stay in touch with people who care about you – and some time alone among strangers can also help.
Working from home has a lot of advantages. It’s safer, for the time being, and it may be more convenient for many people. However, if you’re working or writing from home, it’s important to get out once in a while. As soon as it’s safe, I’ll probably be spending most mornings at the cafe.