Blog Archives

Blogging in a Coffee Shop

I’m sitting in Elements coffee shop in Camarillo right now writing the blog post. Is that cliche? I feel so hipster.

I really like Elements because it is a small, independent coffee shop in Old Town Camarillo. The owner is here every day and is the only barista (or employee, for that matter) I’ve ever seen here when I come in. The shop itself isn’t very big, with a few tables covered in butcher paper for drawing upon and a couple of comfy couches. I’m usually here in the afternoons during the week, and it’s usually pretty full of studying college students, guitar-playing hipsters, young adults working feverishly on their laptops, and the occasional professional-looking older person checking their smart phones. I’m surprised at how many people seem to know each other here, because almost everyone seems to stop and chat at each other’s tables about everything and nothing.

I’m envious of those who can work in busy, crowded, noisy coffee shops and cafes. I am always amazed at how Grif can read or study when he and Liam hang out at our local Starbucks. I find it hard to concentrate on my work in public places because I’m easily distracted by conversations happening around me and I enjoy people watching too much. Even as I write this, there are two earnest young men at the table next to me discussing their fledging business (something Web 2.0, from the sound of it), and what they’re talking about is infinitely more interesting than the blog post I’m trying to write. Still, there’s something about the vibe of this place – it doesn’t feel pretentious or stuffy or fashionable – that lends itself to getting work done. It has a comfortable, relaxed but focused feel to it that seems to work for me.

Elements also has the added bonus of being a short walk from Liam’s gym, so I can stroll over while he’s working out and get some work done too. I hate the idea of losing 4+ hours of productivity three days per week, and not having to sit on those hard bleachers at the gym all that time is a huge plus.

So yeah, I’m sipping one of the best cafe lattes (with a touch of Splenda) I’ve ever had and writing a blog post on my laptop while sitting on a comfy couch in a little, independent coffee shop that offers free wi-fi. And I’m okay with that.

Fall Weather

Fall has definitely arrived here in Oxnard. The day was chilly, overcast and damp, and both Liam and I felt like we couldn’t wake up or get warm all day long. What is it about gray days that make it seem like 6:00 o’clock in the morning all day? It was definitely a hot-tea-and-comfort-food sort of day, which for me means carbs and sugar – not the sort of thing that fits into my healthy eating plan these days. Needless to say, it was a struggle.

I was working on a post today about my mom’s little Boston Terrier being attacked by the neighbor’s pit bulls and the amazing lack of help she’s received from the county Animal Control department, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I am so frustrated and discouraged with the situation right now! The callous disregard the local law enforcement and Animal Control officers have shown to her is so disheartening.

I saved a draft of my post and will hopefully be able to finish it tomorrow. When I started my blog, I promised to be honest and real in my posts and intend to do so with this one too. I just need to ruminate on it a little more before I post it.

Writing about writing

Today is one of those days that I’m really struggling to write. It’s odd, because writing is usually pretty easy for me, but when I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to say, it can be a chore, which it definitely is tonight. I’ve heard that one way around a block is to just start writing anything until the muse strikes (or bites, in my case), but now that I appear to be getting some real readers (as opposed to the amazing amount of spam comments I’ve received after blogging about dental phobias), I’m suddenly feeling shy, or at least uninspired.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of creative writing lately (here on the blog and for another outlet which I can’t give much detail about right now), and have really enjoyed it. I also have a Stir the Embers writing project to work on – we’ve been taking some of our introductory workshop material and turning it into an online course or downloadable content for the website. Usually, my big challenge with writing is finding the time to write, and when I do make time, finding a place that is conducive to writing. I’m not much for sitting in a noisy coffee shop banging out the Great American Novel, but sometimes that’s all I’ve got.

I haven’t been particularly inspired by the daily WordPress suggested topics lately either, but with any luck this is only a temporary block and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled blog posts tomorrow.

One Post Per Day 2011 Challenge – Halfway

Today is October 16th, which is halfway through October and therefore halfway through the One Post Per Day Challenge. It seems appropriate at this point to reflect on the exercise of writing one blog post per day and to recount any successes and failures so far.

First of all, I’m proud of myself for actually getting one blog post per day up on the site since October 1st. Some have been better than others and most have come about fairly easily. I am enjoying the discipline of writing something each day and I think it is helping my creativity.

As for “opportunities for improvement,” I haven’t had any comments (other than spam) on any of my posts, which is both a disappointment and a huge relief. I’m still feeling a little bit vulnerable about putting my thoughts out there for the world to see and comment on, so I really haven’t done much to publicize or encourage folks to follow me, but it is out there in public, on the internet, easily Google-able (is that a word?), so I suppose it’s only a matter of time before someone I know finds this and reads it. And as of right now, I think I’m okay with that.

Going forward, my goals are to continue to write one post per day (sometimes on whatever is rattling around in my head at the moment and sometimes taking the suggestion of the One Post Per Day bloggers) and to commit to one post per week at the Stir the Embers blog, which I’ve woefully neglected since June. I may also start doing a little more fiction writing, since I’ve done a bit of that in the past few weeks and found myself really enjoying it.