My Escape to Panera

If you follow me on the Have Coffee .Will Write blog you know that last week was a tough week for me as a mom and a writer. I was fed up with trying to do everything for everyone and not having any time for myself as a writer. I have to say that the response I got to the post was very supportive and inspiring, so if you visited the site and commented on my post, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.

When I was at a complete loss last week, spiraling out of control inside my own mind, I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I turned to Twitter. I posed the question there, then again to the HCWW blog readers, asking them where they go when working at home just isn't working out. Like I said in Friday's post, I got the usual answers of coffee shops, libraries, parks to the not so usual, McDonald's.

I've decided that although I absolutely love McDonald's french fries, I opted for our local Panera Bread. I didn't pick the best time to go, Saturday over lunch, but I must say, even though I shared the restaurant with 150 perfect strangers, I loved every minute of it. I ordered soup with a sandwich, a huge Pepsi, found a corner table and slipped into my own little paranormal world. It was amazing.

And quite surprising actually. The little table I found was situated by the door and with being there during lunch time, it seemed as if that door swung open every 30 seconds. Not only was the door constantly being opened, but with every person that came in brought a chill from the outside with them. The tables were full around me with gossiping teenagers, hungry children and deaf senior citizens. I did more writing in that crowded bakery then I have done in a quiet house with the napping kids. Who would have thought?

I sat for 2 1/2 hours and I outlined chapters with details, I thought up ideas for blog posts, I ate and drank way too much. No one wanted food from me, no one needed their diapers changed, the dishes were being taken away by someone else and I got to just sit and think. The noise and chaos around me didn't touch me; I allowed myself to forget who I am and the responsibilities at home and just focus my attentions on my characters.

When I did come home I felt refreshed. The rest of the day I could dedicate to my family without feeling like I was forgetting to do something. There was no guilt trying to balance reading books to my children and writing a book for me.

I'm going to try a library next. We're surrounded by several colleges, so I may check out them out (with their longer hours it may be more beneficial for me with writing at night.)

So, thank you friends, for being there when I needed you, your support and advice were greatly appreciated! Now, I'm off to make dinner.


5 responses to “My Escape to Panera”

  1. Kaye, you're spot on – my local Panera is my favorite writing spot (you'll see me check in on Foursquare on Twitter every now and then). It's second only to my local brewpub for favorite overall, but I rarely get any long-form writing done at the brewpub.

    Panera's a great place to people watch, it has that background white noise of conversation, and enough tables that one doesn't feel obligated to leave. Oh, and they have free coffee refills.

    One thing I thought was an obstacle – my local one has the world's worst wifi. Two tin cans and a string have it beat for speed and connectivity, hands down. But just the other day, I realized that by NOT connecting while there, Twitter wasn't beeping at me, my email wasn't popping up, and no one was Facebook messaging me. You know what? Got a LOT written.

    My $2 per day for a cup of coffee (abstaining from bagels when I can) seems to be well worth the investment for the writing produced!


  2. Wait a minute – free coffee refills? Why didn't I notice that? I must return and take advantage of this asap!

    Since I went during peak hours they only let us on for 30 minutes, but that was fine by me. When my time was up I became solely focused on my writing. Even when the peak hours were done and I could get back on I was still engrossed with my writing that it didn't even phase me to reconnect.

    As long as my back is to the bakery case I shouldn't have a problem writing there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I love Panera, but often forget about it. I will have to try that one day this week. Especially with free refills on coffee (I didn't realize that either.)
    I sometimes find that my house is too quiet to write. With just the dog and I during the day, I sometimes need someplace a bit busier to write, as odd as that sounds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I like your gravatar ๐Ÿ˜‰

    In order for me to write at home there has to be quiet, yet when I go places I actually do better with ambient noise around me, people conversing, coffee machines brewing etc. Its weird how that works out.