Temporary self-isolation. Caffeine optional.

coffee writers
That’s a lot of screenplays being developed

Nice to be back. Hope you enjoyed the interviews over the past few weeks. Despite the absence of my personal anecdotes, I’ve been pretty busy with a few assorted projects, with rewriting the dramedy spec being first in line.

Earlier this week, Ms V had a soccer-related activity a little farther away than usual, so rather than schlep all the way home and back again, I opted to stick around and do some more work on the rewrite.

Fortunately for me, there was a coffee shop nearby with the always -welcome free wifi, so I ordered my latte, sat down, and dove right in.

Yes, it’s practically the ultimate cliche to work on a screenplay in a coffee shop, but honestly? It ended up being a pretty productive evening. Did some major rewriting of several sequences, cut a few pages, and came up with some new approaches to scenes earlier in the story. Definitely a solid use of my time.

Even though I have an actual office space for writing at home, sometimes being outside of the house proves to be just as beneficial. Maybe it’s the ability to focus squarely on the writing. No distractions like laundry or having to take the dog outside.

I also find that when I work somewhere else, I’m a lot less likely to screw around and waste time online. Social media and email get put on hold, and all attention is focused on the work. It helps you get a lot more done than you realize.

This is also where the wifi angle factors in. Listening to music while I write helps me think. It acts as a kind of a white noise and counters all the potentially distracting sounds being generated around me. Being able to stream it comes in mighty handy.

Another benefit – the coffee. Sure, I can make it myself at home, but a barista-prepared drink always seems to taste a little better.

No matter where you get your writing done, the important thing is to find a location that works best for you (and there might even be more than one) and provides you with the best opportunities to get the work done.

I don’t usually ask other writers about their actual writing habits and situations. Some might thrive in their home work space, while others wouldn’t think of ever writing anywhere but at the local library or their neighborhood coffee joint of preference. But I’ll admit to being curious about it. Feel free to mention it in the Comments section down below.

(Need a last-minute gift for that screenwriter in your life? How about a gift card to their local coffee shop? National chains or local, doesn’t matter. It would be very well-received.)

Ear candy

From our mouths to your ears

If it’s not raining, I ride my bike to work.  Since it could still be considered the middle of the night when I do (4AM), it’s pretty quiet.  My iPod helps make the ride a little more tolerable.

Probably unlike a lot of people, I don’t do a lot of music. At first it was old radio shows, which I still enjoy, but some of them are starting to lose their luster and I’m slowly adding more podcasts into the mix.

The appeal of the radio shows comes from the quality of the writing, which could be extremely good.  They didn’t call it ‘theatre of the mind’ for nothing.  Even decades later, a lot of the material still works.  You can’t go wrong with a solid episode of Jack Benny or The Shadow.  It’s also fascinating how a show serves as a time capsule, preserving a moment 60 or 70 years in the past.

A few years ago, I attended a panel discussion about old time radio. I must have been the only person there under 55.  The guest of honor was an actor who had been on The Lone Ranger for a few years; his name currently escapes me.  They recreated parts of well-known shows, commercials and jingles and an episode of The Lone Ranger, complete with sound effects.  Probably not the same as watching it back in the day, but still fun.

While there’s no direct modern equivalent, podcasts come pretty close. There are shows covering just about every subject you could think of.  In my case, most of them deal with film (Filmsack), writing (Scriptcast) or a slightly different take on current events (The Bugle and Wait, Wait, Don’t  Tell Me!).  And for overall entertainment value, you can’t go wrong with The Dinner Party or The Nerdist.

The only downside to all this great material is that I can’t listen to it when I want to write. It’s great for bike rides, runs or working in the kitchen, but for work on the outline or pages, that’s when the music kicks in and I thank my lucky stars for the wonderful gloriousness that is Pandora.

What are you listening to these days?