Where’s the best place to write? Part 2: The Cafe

Pulp Fiction Future Foods
Pulp Fiction Future Foods

It rained very very heavily yesterday. So my plan of heading to a cafe for an afternoon writing session went out of the window. It didn’t stop for one second so I worked in the kitchen in the morning and then retreated upstairs for a bit of variation in the afternoon.

Rainy day window, complete with cow.
Rainy day window, complete with cow (and diet coke for caffeine boost)

Today, however, the weather has been glorious. Which meant that I could reward myself after a productive morning with a trip to my local cafe for a writing sesh. My cafe of choice was Pulp Fiction Future Foods. A recent addition to my local eateries (& former Virgin StartUp of the Week!) Pulp Fiction’s mission is to bring us nutritious, delicious and medicinal Future Foods & Pressed Juices. Unlike, my kitchen which contains many many foodstuffs that are not necessary what you might call ‘brain food’, here you can ramble on about reflexive self-ethnography to your heart’s content – whilst sipping on a super berry smoothie.

Mindmapping: structuring a paper on ‘good teacherhood’

In her amazing blog, the édu flâneuse, writes about her love of cafes as writing spaces. She talks about the “right amount of people-buzz, good tunes, quirky touches,  and sometimes a view”. I had all of those in abundance this afternoon.

The people who wandered in didn’t really distract me from the work. My ears only really picked up when I heard talk of lawyers (which was a lot! you can’t escape!) and one particular moment when a young man was talking to his companion about being a law student and having a career in law.* They were essentially mini breaks – couple of seconds here and there – before getting back into it. The music was fab. And because I wasn’t in control I couldn’t do that thing of scrolling for ages trying to find the “best” writing music. It just played and there was nothing I could do about it. And who doesn’t like a bit of the Five Stairsteps?!

Fantastic brain food!

 The head space of the cafe meant that I managed to mindmap the panel presentation for a one day symposium that has been swimming around my brain for what seems like an age. Getting that finally on a piece of paper was a positive step forward. It helped me to work out exactly what it was I was trying to say, and see where I had gaps. I’m really excited about being part of the One Day Symposium, Negotiating Recent Reform in Higher Education: the Question of Student Engagement at Newcastle University next month. I want to make sure that my arguments are well formed and executed. Mind mapping helped me to see how everything is fitting so far and where I need to get to. So far, the cafe is definitely up there as one of my favourite writing spaces.


  • Food for the soul: great food promoting healthy brain function (note: this may not have been the case if I had gone elsewhere – pick your cafes with care….)
  • A never ending supply of people walking pugs past the window. Amazing.
  • I really made use of my time when I was in the cafe as I saw my time there as a proper luxury. I didn’t want to waste it by absent-mindedly checking my phone.


  • The law. It really does follow you everywhere. It was sorely tempting to get involved in the various discussions that peaked my interest.
  • Once you’re outside, in glorious sunshine, it’s hard not to think that you’re on holiday. Once I’d finished my mindmap and read a chapter of my ethnography book, I grabbed all the treats I possibly could from the dessert section and ran back home as quickly as humanly possible – lest I decided to join the pug walkers!



*Dear Young Man Who Was Sat At The Window Seat, if by any chance you come across this I’d be more than happy to talk to you about being a law student and then becoming a commercial lawyer. I’ve done both. I’ve worked for the ‘big firms’ you alluded to and if you’d like to chat please get in touch.

One thought on “Where’s the best place to write? Part 2: The Cafe

  1. the édu flâneuse says:

    Thanks for the mention! I’m glad you had a good experience. I feel as though maybe I should thank my staple writing cafes in my thesis acknowledgements. So much of my work has been done in a couple of my favourite cafés. I’m so grateful that they happily let me write while bringing me my caffeine fix. Hooray for lovely writing spaces which fuel productivity and make us feel less isolated.


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