When my writing group meets, we usually have sent each other our selected drafts before hand, had time to read them over, and scribble or type comments.  Face to face, we discuss our comments, ask questions, maybe even brainstorm a few ideas for someone who is stuck.  Recently, we decided to switch things up. We would write, enjoy breakfast, and talk about our writing. All of us have attended a writing retreat at some point, whether a day long or a weekend, and we planned to harness this collective writing energy to file a few more pages in our novels-to-be.  I’ve done this in the past with my scrapbooking friends, too. It’s all the creativity bouncing in the air, it spurs you to want to grab it and make something beautiful, too.


Coffee, laptop and a lot of ideas. All ready for a productive writing day.

Select a place conducive to your work.  Places like Starbucks and Panera are generally welcoming of folks hanging out for a few hours, but be mindful that they are in business to make a buck, not be your secondary office. Don’t take up more than a reasonable amount of space, do buy some coffee and food as “rent” for your space, and do be kind to the staff.  And if they give you the side-eye or keep coming by to clear up your table, that might be the gentle hint that your time is up.  We found a nice small coffee house that served breakfast and a light lunch and kept an eye out for a morning or mid-afternoon crowd. Of course, if your budget and calendar allow, you can plan for a weekend or a few days away from your regular life.  Be sure to invite me if you go this route.

Come prepared to write.  You don’t want to start off your day drumming the table trying to think of something to write. Jot down a few ideas before you come, think about where you want to jump in on an piece that’s already in progress.

Pack your supplies for writing. Are you a paper and pen kind of person or do you need your laptop? Don’t forget your cord or charger.  You may also want to bring headphones if you are one of those people who are easily distracted by conversation at the next table.  What else do you normally have? Do you need chocolate to keep you going, a special stress ball to help you think? Don’t forget your must-have writing accessories.

Prepare for writer’s block with prompts.  What happens when you get stuck?  What are your characters going to do next, where are they going to go, what’s going on? Don’t waste your time staring into the ceiling. Before our writing day, I wrote out a few writing prompts on index cards, ready for anyone to grab one if they needed a little push.  Perhaps you will stick with the idea, perhaps it will get your brains cells to think of something else, totally not even related. It’s all good. A few of the prompts to stick in your writing notebook:

  • Your character is stuck in traffic.
  • Someone offers your character something to eat or drink.
  • Describe one of your character’s flaws.
  • It starts raining.
  • Your character sees someone they think they recognize.

Watch your time. It’s easy to get carried away in the social aspect of the day. Set an agenda, allowing enough time to write (maybe 2 hour blocks), talk about your writing, enjoy a snack or meal, according to your goals for the day.

Have fun! This is what you want to do, right? Enjoy it.

Need more writing prompts? Check my Pinterest page – When Your Muse Takes a Break – for more ideas.