Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro, to replace a seven-year-old MacBook that had absolutely seen better days. While it’s true that this laptop has bigger teeth than the one that it was replacing, and more memory (which makes it a lot easier to listen to my 8600+ song music library) than I really know what to do with, making it a little more computer than I know how to handle. And while the technology may in a sense elude me, I have been able to integrate all of the programs that I’ve used in my writing: TextWrangler, Scrivener, and the old favorite Microsoft Word.
Almost as important as what you’re going to write, is where you’re going to write. You may not think that is as crucial as I’m making it out to be, but believe me. If you’ve set aside two hours to write, and you spend half of that trying to get comfortable, you’re going to defeat yourself before you even get started.
PRO: Numerous electrical outlets and free Internet, not to mention free refills on soft drinks and coffee, and some of the best “fast” food in the Lehigh Valley. There is a very good chance that you will not be asked to leave, simply because by being there you’re actually buying their goods.
CON: Kids and families make a lot of noise — they might have even been the reason that you went to Panera in the first place.
PRO: Coffee. Coffee, and coffee-based drinks, and not-so-coffee-based drinks. The Internet is also free here.
CON: The tables are sparse, as are the electrical outlets. The music may be a little too loud for everyone’s taste, and may not be the kind of music that you even want to listen to.
Barnes and Noble
PRO: Books at your fingertips, so if you ever get stuck with a character or a plot, you can browse and see what’s already on the shelves. The Internet here is also free, and you can get almost anything that you would be able to get at Starbucks.
CON: The tables are small and there are no outlets, so whatever power you’ve come is all that you have.
The Public Library
PRO: Same as Barnes and Noble, you have books by the ton at your disposal, more reference than anything. Most libraries have free Internet, and plugs scattered throughout the building so you can find more than one nook to take over as your own. Libraries also have computers of their own that, with a valid library card, you can use for a time.
CON: Moms who bring their kids to the library with them and let them run around like heathens. Libraries are historically supposed to be quiet, and some people do not adhere to this rule. Also, some libraries don’t allow outside food or drink, so bringing something to snack on could prove to be difficult.
Lehigh Valley Mall
PRO: I know this is going to sound weird, but stay with me. What better place can you go to people watch? Find a table, use the mall’s free Internet, and find yourself a character.
CON: It’s… the mall. There aren’t many places to sit that aren’t Barnes and Noble or Starbucks, and even then you often get the strangest looks if you pull out a laptop (or worse, pen and paper) in the middle of the mall.