Both tablet and keyboard are festooned with stickers from my younger daughter's dance class, since I haven't gotten my act together enough to get her a sticker book for the purpose. Said dance class generates a 45-minute window during which I can sit in the lobby of the studio and hack at whatever document I'm working on; this window expands to about 1.5h if I remember to bring the kids' tablet to keep her entertained until her sister arrives with my husband...which I am just realizing I did not do today, dammit - between that and leaving my tea in the car I'm really on a roll. Ugh.
The lobby is a wasteland of industrial gray carpet and winter boots and fluorescent lights, about the size of our dining room, intermittently packed with fellow kid-wranglers. I seize the downtime, since it's available - it's a precious commodity these days and you learn to take it where you can - but there are definitely nicer places to write. Such as...
* Pour Boy. I think the building might have been converted from an old house. Two smallish, drafty floors, loud music, Strongbow, and an assortment of delicious and inexpensive food. Quirks of the floor plan create a couple of little nooks that one can curl up in quite comfortably with scarf, sweater, work, and drink - I'm particularly fond of the one upstairs, which has a big orange light hanging over it, a power outlet behind the bench, and enough room at the table for about six people. I have had a few highly successful evenings there with delightful company, either typing away in companionable silence or chewing over tricky plot points, and the whole place has acquired a pleasant air of inspiration for me as a result. Being there has become a productivity charm, my equivalent of Mr. Earbrass's writing sweater ("always worn hind-side-to.")
* The Elgin Street Diner. Well, I only managed this the once, but it was awesome. This was when my husband was spending three days a week in Montreal and schlepping to the bus station at 5 a.m. every Monday. Easter Monday was a holiday for me, since I work in Ontario, but it wasn't for him. Since the kids were at my mom's overnight, we got up together at 4:30 and I drove him to the bus. And then I took myself to ESD to enjoy their marvelous "hangover breakfast" (eggs, bacon, poutine - yum) over obscenely early morning writing. The place was almost entirely deserted at that hour and as a result felt pretty grim and twitchy and horror-movie-ish, which was perfect for the scene that fairly flew onto the page over the next couple hours. I have been meaning to do this again ever since.
* The deck. (In my mind these words are always accompanied by a fanfare from a heavenly choir.) Last summer's all-consuming DIY home renovation project resulted in the best room in the house, an oasis of order, peace, and quiet overlooking the garden. I am dead proud of it and cannot wait to use it again. It's piled with a good three feet of snow at the moment, but man, come mid-April, I will be out there every morning it's not pouring rain with tablet and tea, chilling on Ikea's ingenious modular outdoor couch.
* The project room. Somewhat more chaotic and definitely less Pinterest-worthy than the deck, mostly because the project du jour always ends up strewn all over it; just now, this translates to heaps of fabric I haven't yet finangled storage for. As long as I can wedge myself into the corner of the couch with enough space on a shelf to rest a drink, though, I can cope. It's especially fabulous in the morning, when the sun comes pouring in. I plan to hang some inspiring wall art - my "NOVEL REVISION ATE HER BRAIN" poster and some pages from The Unstrung Harp - to egg myself on.
* Office lunchtimes. It took me a long time to figure out how to carve out the mental space do this, and I don't often manage it, but it's surprising how much I can get done in an hour if I closet myself in one of the meeting rooms with a wall of windows overlooking the courtyard. There's the swank coffee shop down the street available for this purpose, too, but it is (a) pricey and (b) usually packed. This has the added bonus of speeding up the workday, too, because I look forward to it in the morning and then, having accomplished it, spend the afternoon feeling all virtuous.