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December 27, 2007



Long time reader, first time commenter.Panera bread -- for we have no Starbucks. Honestly, I only tried it once, and I got approached by another "writer" who asked what I was writing, let me get half a sentence out before he sat down and broke into what a masterpiece he was working on (I assume not a screenplay, but a novel).Now, I just write at home. Or if I need to get away from the wife and kid, I go to the beach (I'm in Vermont, so this little feat can only be pulled off during the month of summer) or I go to the co-ed frat filled with geeks and gamers that let me sit in their basement, unnoticed.


Ditto on writers block advise! When I finally sit my considerable ass down to write, it's in my very messy, very uncomfortable combo office/pantry... only steps from my fridge, my coffee maker and my dog.

S. Buck Short

Tallulah, Dahling. Not even with Doug? You really ought to give writers a a shot. You know the old saying,“Once you go hack, you never go back.” We are so needed and appreciative you could break a hip. Last Friday (Dec. 21, literally the longest night of the year) my wife and I acknowledged our wedding anniversary. It’s a strong relationship. We’ve been married 38 years, and she got pregnant both times.I used to write at Starbucks but found the tables a little to vente for my laptop. Couldn’t just set that on my actual lap, because that’s where I like to spill my hot coffee. So now I write in an allegedly private office where I can multitask – develop concepts while the porn is buffering.Here in Texas we usually start off by asking ourselves WWJW – I don’t have to spell it out for you do I? Where would Jesus write? The answer usually comes back anywhere he wants, but that guy was good. He could write on water. Then we go out and git us a pair of Birkenstock’s.So now I write here exclusively in the home office. The routine is pretty much set by now. F’rinstance I’ve written one actual book. Started by painting the office. Then went outside and checked the office tires. Planted an acre of cotton, just to get that out of the way so that once I started writing I wouldn’t have to interrupt myself for anything. By that time I needed a nap, which, of course, is where I do my best creative thinking.Incidentally, I once stopped into a Starbucks in Maine where the girl who worked there was known as a nor’ista.Bangor?No, she wouldn’t sleep with writers.


I write at home and alone, just like they said to in all those Health Ed filmstrips from high school.

Doktor Frank Doe

An airplane is also my favorite place, the Coaster commuter train between Oceanside and San Diego and Denny's between 2:30-6:00am. It's almost a weird process trying to seek out just the right place to write. It's akin to a dog finding the perfect place to... well you know. What works, just simply works!

Stercus Accidit

My day job is in mortgage banking, so I have appx. eight hours to kill, five days a week. It's so dead that my coworkers wander by and ask how the script is coming. One even reads for me.I've trained myself to write at work while the whole world crumbles around me.


In the bathroom, on my Treo, a la Whoopie Goldberg and her bathroom keyboard she plays when she sits a spell or two. :-)Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and yours, Ken. I'm a bit late this year. Please forgive. I'm still recovering. Hee.Stacey


Nothing to do with writing (or Starbucks), but I'm kind of surprised you didn't mention Stu Nahan's death. Did the news not make it to Hawaii, or do you just have nothing to say about him?(I certainly don't think you're compelled to comment on everybody!)


So Whoopie Goldberg has a keyboard by her abode. The things one learns here!

Rory L. Aronsky

I write at Starbucks. I finished 10 pages of my screenplay yesterday. I rock.Can't write anywhere else but home. Dead quiet in the early morning and that's when I try to get the words to show up.

A. Buck Short

My son used to write on airplanes, but now with the TSA and their 3 oz. liquid carry-on limit, they confiscate his spray paint cans before he can even get within a hundred feet of a wing, much less the rest of the fuselage that provides an even better canvas.Yes I know, lame, but if you don’t get this kind of stuff out, it can gnaw at you all weekend.


"It was a dark and stormy night as I entered the Starbuck's ." One line down, rest of my novel to go. Happy New Year one and all.

D. McEwan

Hooray for David Letterman and Worldwide Pants!Now let's hope the rest of the industry soon follows his wise example. I won't be watching Leno any time soon. (Not that I did much anyway.)(And Buck Short, please. I wouldn't have sex with Tallulah even if she WAS a man. Have you ever had a whiff of her? Birds flying over her house fall dead even when they're 2000 feet up.)


Blackberries are so 2007. iPhones are the new blackberries.


Heh. I have to laugh at the Anon comment above this one. I just traded my old Palm IIIxe in for a Treo because someone gave it to me and because the desktop software was the same so that meant I didn't have to download or change a thing. Blackberry what?? Am I showing my age now?Stacey


So Whoopie Goldberg has a keyboard by her abode. The things one learns here!I have a professional acquaintance who is a comic book artist, and is currently writing a digital art how-to book for DC Comics. He uses a laptop on a special stand, height set for his toilet, as he claims to have no other time to write. I couldn't do that. Read, yes. Draw? In pinch (a loaf), sure. Write? Nooo...

Rory L. Aronsky

Since writers are the greatest frickin' procrastinators to ever live...Rock on! That's exactly what I'm doing right now.


I'm curious how those guys actually do their dialogue. I always read it out loud (on orders of Garth Ennis) every half page or so to make sure that everything sounds as reasonable coming out as it did going in. And I don't even write for film or stage. And I worry about what the neighbors think.I doubt Starbucks would appreciate some half-bathed wretch doing his best impression of Tourette's Syndrome next to the biscotti.

John Pearley Huffman

Are screenwriters all really as obsessed (or more obsessed) with the appearance of writing as they are with the writing itself? Are half of them preening twits who feel some great urge to write in public so that everyone will know they're writers? And are the other half cloistered in some dank room scared that someone will perceive them as preening twits?Get a damned grip. Writing is something that ought to be done wherever it is that gets results. If that means going to Starbucks wearing a tweed coat with elbow patches, then wardrobe up and head on over. If it means welding yourself into the storm cellar for three months, then go ahead and eliminate sunlight from your life. And somewhere in there stop giving a shit about what people think about you.I don't write screenplays, but I have to write to make a living. Sometimes I write at the Santa Barbara Public Library, sometimes I write at my mom's house, sometimes I write in the lobby of the hotel that's next to the casino where I play too much poker, sometimes I write in my truck when I realize halfway to L.A. that I've completely forgotten about a deadline, sometimes I write in my rich friend's guest house in Montecito, and sometimes I write at the Starbucks near UCSB where the parade of fantastic looking women young enough to be my daughters makes me feel even older and fatter than I am.But mostly I write at home in my office (like I am now) with my feet up on my desk, my wireless keyboard in my lap, and there's easy access to my long list of distracting blogs. I keep the blinds shut on my spectacular view of my neighbors garage, and I usually have the TV on behind me with a baseball game, NASCAR race or old Perry Mason rerun playing in the background. Sometimes I even wear pants.In short, I do whatever I need to do to ship product. I'm a volume producer of words and I'll grease the production line any way I can to keep the invoices going out and the checks coming in. I've got a life to live, a family to support, and that's expensive.I can't afford to give a shit about where I write or how I look doing it. Just pay me.


Seems that I have to shut the world out to let the world in, if that makes sense. Though I can and have written amid many distractions, I'm never confident about the results. I always wonder, "How much better might this have been if I hadn't been scoping out chicks, eavesdropping, calling for refills, etc." 'Course, that's what rewrites are for.So I almost always write at home. Occasionally, when I'm the designated driver for some friends who frequent a club in Costa Mesa, I'll drop them off, then camp out at the local Norm's, order steak and eggs, and try my hand at some old-fashioned pen-and-legal-pad writing (necessitated by my lack of a laptop). I usually give up after an hour and open a book.Starbucks is great for meetings. I'd much rather be overheard talking with a producer about my script than be seen toiling away on it (or pretending same).


Are screenwriters all really as obsessed (or more obsessed) with the appearance of writing as they are with the writing itself? Are half of them preening twits who feel some great urge to write in public so that everyone will know they're writers? And are the other half cloistered in some dank room scared that someone will perceive them as preening twits? Short answer: yes. But only for the last thousand years or so.


Ken, is it just regular Starbucks, or those and the Starbucks Cafes at the Barnes & Noble stores? The latter has the further problem of the "B&N Magazine Reader", who monopolizes a table while checking out about six dozen periodicals, the final 59 after they've finished their coffee of the world latte (I believe the one at Lincoln Center in Manhattan has a three month waiting list for tables).And as anyone who is a true writer knows, the real places to go with a laptop are the ones with tables near multiple wall plugs and free Wifi, since if you're living on a writer's salary, you don't have the spare chance for either a new long-lasting laptop battery or those damn T-Mobile wireless fees at Stabucks.


i write in restaurants sitting next to david mamet where he stole my idea for writing in restaurants and turned it into a book of his essays.the nerve.so, now that i am without a place to write without being plagiarized, can i come over to your house, danny cohen? the location sounds good and i like your dress code.========

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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