There’s No Place Like Away from Home

photoI have a two-year-old son. Whenever he sees my laptop, he points to it and says, “Momma busy.” Yep. But this realization in his toddler brain does not stop him from lunging at my computer with blueberry-stained hands, or from driving over the keyboard with one of his endless fleet of toy cars.

As you can imagine, I don’t get much writing done at home. So, when it’s time for me to hunker down with my characters or an edit letter, I absolutely have to leave the house.

Lucky for me, my hometown of Madison is a Mecca for coffee shops. I have different places for different moods and times of day. When I need to stay up late, I go to a hippie-dippy vegan joint around the corner that’s open until 11:00 PM. It has dirty bathrooms with writing on the walls, but fast wi-fi and nice baristas.

If I need a meal, I go to a sourdough bakery down the street, but only if it’s a weekday. On weekends, it’s overrun by the stroller brunch mafia. I love kids, but when I’m out of the house and away from mine, I don’t want to be around other people’s.

And, finally, there’s my tried-and-true: a cafe called Barriques, just kitty corner from the white dome of the state capitol building. It’s got strong, organic coffee and, better yet, an ever-changing menu of wines by the glass. Because sometimes, after mommy time and day-jobbing, dog walking and dinner-making, a girl just needs a nice glass of Malbec while tackling that ever-so-important opening chapter, yet again.

What about you? Where do you write or go for some “me” time?

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Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

6 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Away from Home

  1. You’d think Chicago would offer better options than Starbux, but not near where I live. I do a lot of Panera and Corner Bakery when I need wifi. Yesterday I took my lunch break at a sushi place that never seems to mind how long I stay. That’s the quality I look for, and then I tip well.

    Madison…Wisconsin? We’re almost neighbors!

  2. I love writing from home, but every once in a while I need to get out to avoid getting cabin fever. There’s a Starbucks within walking distance of my apartment that I go to every once in a while, but also a local coffee shop that I like much more (bonus: they have great breakfast tacos and a lot of quirky character). Recently I also discovered another cafe with the most comfortable booths and servers who don’t care if I stay all day, using their wifi and drinking cups and cups of tea!

  3. The hippy-dippy vegan place sounds so Portland!

    I hear you about needing to get out of the house. I don’t have kids either…I’d like to blame my mellow dog, but I know it’s me finding any excuse. 🙂

  4. I almost forget what it feels like to go INSIDE a coffee shop alone and then drink my coffee while it’s really hot. Your post is a good reminder that I need to more often. Also, “stroller brunch mafia” is quite possibly the best moniker I’ve ever heard for that phenomenon.

  5. I’m sitting at Starbucks now. I needed a change of scenery and I wanted to get out of the house. I’ve ever only written successfully in the quiet of my own house, my own little corner of it, whichever corner that might be on any given day.

    I thought I could write out among the masses. I was wrong.

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