Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

Writing in Public Vs. Private

Writing in a public place like a coffee shop or library can either be liberating or anxiety-ridden. The same goes for writing from home tucked away in a cozy office or at a messy desk. Here are some things to consider when deciding to write in the public eye versus privately at home. 



When you’re writing from home, it’s much easier to take too many breaks from distractions. There’s so much to get done at home, like bathing the cat or dusting the windowsills. When writing publicly, it’s strictly writing...or walking around or looking out of the train window. Sure, you may get up to order something, but then you’d have to constantly pack up your writerly things, so nobody steals your stuff. Consider these issues when deciding to stay home and make an area free of distractions. Tell your mind that all chores can be done later. Be aware of any tendencies to procrastinate and carve out space and time to write.


Wandering Mind 

This can be a problem in both private and public spaces. In a public park, for example, there are people around to watch. For some, it can be entertaining to people watch. It may give inspiration to writers, but it’s also a distraction (and a bit stalkerish). At home, your mind may wander easily if you have no time constraints. Notice when your mind wanders and how often to stop it from taking up your writing time no matter where you are.


Lots of Eyes Vs. No Eyes

In a public area, laptop screens are easy for someone sitting next to you to peek at. Writing in a notebook? A random passerby can look over your shoulder. If this thought bothers you, but you still want to write away from home, find a good spot wherever you go, like a corner table away from everybody. Otherwise, the pressure of someone reading your work-in-progress can be avoided at home.



Writing from home is easier to do every day then going to your favorite coffee shop or library all the time. There are hours to think about and closed days. Not to mention when things in life pop up like your car breaking down or schedule conflicts. If consistency is important to you, have a backup place to write. Be flexible.



Libraries are quiet. Coffee shops are loud. Buses can be both. Parks are outside with many different sounds. Whichever one you go to, remember what noises you will be around. Unlike at home, the only way to control public noise is to invest in some headphones. You can listen to your own music and drown out the cafe’s latest greatest hits or just plug your ears because you hate any sound while writing. However you get in the zone, consider all the options. 



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