Friday, January 27, 2006

Literary Battle At Tim Hortons

Lesley Simpson, one of my favourite Hamilton Spectator reporters, has begun an exciting venture today. She’ll be participating in a literary battle with three other local media personalities in a 48 hour novel writing session. It takes place at a Tim Hortons down on Ottawa Street starting at noon today and is an effort to raise awareness for Family Literacy Day (which is today) and fundraising for literacy.

I’m sure Lesley and her colleagues will do well. They’re in one of the best places to write, IMHO. You can check things out and cheer Lesley and her colleagues on by clicking here. (The Spec says that live broadcast and feeds should be available online once the event begins)

I started writing my novel Morning Son in longhand back in 1998 at a Tim Hortons on King Street W near Stoney Creek when Francine was tutoring in the neighbourhood and we had a single vehicle, a Pontiac Lemans. Since Fran didn’t drive standard, I’d drop her off for her hour or two hour session, then zip over to Tim’s and work on my novel while waiting to pick her up. I made sure to buy a coffee and sometimes a donut every 20 minutes (because of the loitering rules), but not once did I get hassled. They must have sensed a creative genius at work.

I actually found the whole experience enjoyable -- I think the only thing that would have made it better would have been a laptop, since I can type a heck of a lot faster than I can write longhand. I do most of my writing now on the GO train (it’s where I ended up finishing the first draft as well as several subsequent drafts of the same novel), which works out nicely for my daily work schedule, but often times I long for the atmosphere of a coffee shop when I’m defying the empty page.

A question for writers out there -- what’s a favourite writing spot of yours?


Pete Mitchell said...

I don't actually have one.

But I would kill for my own office.

Hey! YOU have an office.


Oh Mister Buhh-Neeee! I have an assignment for you-ou-ou-ou! I'll give you a ba-naaah-naaah!

Franny said...

That novel-writing challenge sounds like a neat endeavour! My favorite place to write is in the basement, after the kids go to bed.
Its so cluttered and deathly cold down there (poor insulation), I feel like I am really alone and writing to survive. And the frantic typing keeps my fingers from freezing solid.
More than this though, when I write I play music, the genre of which depends on the flavour of what I'm writing. Josh Groban & Blue Rodeo are my music of choice for 'softer' writing. If it's hardcore stuff, then its Evanescence. The "goth" station ('In Dark Faith Eternal') on Live365 is great for those dark moods.

Kimberly said...

I like to write in my office at's private, it's cozy, and I can blast whatever music I feel like. Although the Westdale Second Cup when not busy is a nice spot...and the hot chocolate with whipped cream is great brain fuel!

I try not to write in public too much as I find I am easily distracted.

Magdalena said...

Having moved several times in the past few years, the exact location has not been the same but the set up however does not change.
Always, always surrounded by my hoards of books. I don't think that I could even think about starting to write without at least one book next to me or around me.

So ... encircled by books, listening to "The Russia House" soundtrack most often, or some brooding classical music, often also Russian, and imagining myself in the tiniest apartment in St. Petersburg or Moscow with some hot tea and similarily to Franny, possessed with the need to write to survive and express my artist soul (like all brooding Russian and Eastern European authors it would seem).

Bob said...

Mine is my little office in the attic of my home. It also has to be late at night since that's when my ideas begin to percolate. Unfortantely these days, I'm in bed by midnight as I have to work the next morning.

Rainypete said...

Usually chilling out in a park works for me. When I was younger (and more limber) I used to shinny up a tree with my notebooks and write up above the mayhem.