C is for Coffee, Change and Convenience

OK, I’ll be honest with you, I made a mistake choosing C for Coffee in our Cafe Aphra Alphabet of Writing.
I realise that the link between Coffee and Cafe and Cafe Aphra is strong – or medium or maybe mild – but really coffee is not that important to me as an aid to writing. Although it is fair to say that sometimes wine can stimulate my creative juices, sometimes chocolate boosts my flagging energy-for-writing levels and sometimes the boredom of being stuck in a garage waiting for the tyres to get changed can boost production of a page or two .  So, instead of Coffee, I have decided to Change the Rules and make my C ‘Change versus Routine’. Hope that works for you.
 As I write this, I am doing my Robert Louis Stevenson routine which means I am stuck in bed feeling hideous. 

Hopefully, looking more like this ......


than like RLS.....

of this situation are  – my kids are currently  at school, off camping or at University, respectively, so I have the triple luxury of being able to be ill in the first place, being ill in peace AND all this from the comfort of my own bed. Plus, I managed to get a Doctor’s appointment for this afternoon which is truly, truly miraculous.
Weaknesses of the situation are that I can’t consider drinking or eating anything right now, however, this is really an.........
Opportunity because a) I might lose weight and b) said germs will obviously prevent me from shopping and cooking today.  (Only applies when offspring are able to drive, cook or otherwise fend for themselves for a day). It’s quite convenient really as it means that Dinky Laptop and I have time to laze in bed breaking all the rules that I set previously about not allowing pets to sleep on the bed.  The animals don’t seem to mind and it’s quite nice actually. And they have promised to respond to ‘Get down’ issued in a stern voice if anyone comes in. Situation covered.

The only Threat to this scene of authorial contentment is constant visits to the en-suite and a mild, nostalgic fantasy-sadness that I don’t have a nanny like my namesake RLS had to offer succour and fluff the pillows.
By now you may suspect that I have lost the plot in my meanderings but actually something very pertinent is going on.  In both instances I have changed something that appeared to be an obstacle to something that would actually enable me to write.
I didn’t want to write about coffee, so I changed that.  I am feeling ill, so was forced to write in bed today. In both cases I changed something that didn’t work to free me up so that I could write.  I freely admit that what I have written today may not merit a Booker nomination but the point is that consistency and familiarity may establish a writing routine but being flexible and willing to change can be equally important .
So, allow yourself to be flexible in your approach to your writing routine, what you write about or where you do it.  You may find that it changes the way in which you write or your choice of narrator or even genre. You may just surprise yourself.  And you may also discover yourself having fun in the process.  Like I did today. I normally like to express my dark side in writing. But not today.  
Note to self: When I feel better I am going to try making lots of changes to my writing routine. Inspired by today’s experience, forced upon me by agreeing to participate in the Cafe Aphra Alphabet Challenge, I may start with a different place. It might be a gorgeous cafe bistro with views and food and drink to die for.  Sofas deep enough to flounder about in with Dinky Laptop but still offering options to reach the table or get up in a dignified manner. There will be a creative ambience and a free table waiting expectantly. When I arrive, the waitress will take my order. I will say “Make mine a capuccinno and a glass of water, please”.  I may order cake but that is a private matter between me and my conscience.
Fantasies notwithstanding, being forced to write in a different place or changing your writing conditions in any other way is not only possible but highly recommended. Changing something, whether it is a tiny detail or an entire plot thread, could develop your style in unexpected ways.  Some of these may survive to a final edit others may not but experimentation and variety is important in writing. Be prepared to embrace change as well as routine.  Do whatever you have to do to make a regular writing habit possible. Cheat, change perameters, construct or contract, just leave a notebook and pencil – or beloved Dinky Laptop - in the most useful spot you can find that day for your writing convenience. 
Whatever works........  Whatever is convenient..........


  1. You are absolutely right. I have changed where I write which has helped me change when I write. Being less rigid about where, when, how, and what circumstances and rules I impose on myself before I feel in the 'zone' has freed me up to write more.


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